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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Man Utd seal Rio deal
Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon, new signing Rio Ferdinand and Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferdinand has signed a five-year deal
Manchester United have completed the 30m signing of Leeds and England defender Rio Ferdinand.

Ferdinand has agreed a five-year deal and becomes Britain's most expensive player for the second time.


It was not an easy decision, but opportunities like this do not come round very often
Rio Ferdinand
The 23-year-old was presented to the world's media at a news conference on Monday.

"I'm delighted to be joining Manchester United," he said.

"I'm hoping to improve as a player and this is definitely a step in the right direction.

"I never thought in a million years I would be playing alongside players like Juan Sebastian Veron and Roy Keane.

"It was not an easy decision, but opportunities like this do not come round very often so I had to grab it with both hands.

"The fee will not play on my mind at all."

The England international also paid credit to his former club Leeds.

"I'm leaving a great club and I fully appreciate what Leeds have done for me," he said.

"They went out on a limb for me when other clubs might not have done."

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: "I identified him many years ago. When you identify a particular great player you think how you could get him here.

"That wasn't going to be easy but the board wanted him as much as I did and who wouldn't want him at Old Trafford?


It was disappointing last year - we hope to make amends for that and Rio is part of it
Sir Alex Ferguson
"A transfer like this has to be difficult. Leeds are a big club and our fiercest rivals, and he had four years left on his contract.

"We were hopeful because of Leeds' financial position. I think Peter Ridsdale has admitted that.

"Most importantly, Rio wanted to come here and this contributed to the deal.

"At 23 he has great potential. We're hoping he will mature here and develop into the best centre-half in the world."

Ferguson said he had no problem with breaking the British transfer record for the second year in succession.

"We have the right to try and improve ourselves and there's nothing wrong with that," he said.

"It was disappointing last year - we hope to make amends for that and Rio is part of it."

Ferdinand's fee could rise to 33.3m if he fulfils performance-related clauses in his contract.

Manchester United will pay Leeds 15m up front, with a further 14.3m payable by July 2003.

The performance-related payments will be paid over a four-year period.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Ian Dennis
"The England international has appetite for success"
Rio Ferdinand
"I will grab this opportunity with both hands"
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"Getting Rio was never going to be easy"

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21 Jul 02 | Sports Talk
21 Jul 02 | Man Utd
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