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Monday, 22 July, 2002, 11:59 GMT 12:59 UK
Rio's the real deal
Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand gets the thumbs-up from Hansen
BBC Sport's Alan Hansen

Rio Ferdinand's move to Manchester United makes them strong favourites to reclaim the Premiership title.

Before the transfer, the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Leeds United all stood a realistic chance of winning the league - it was that wide open.

But now Manchester United suddenly look as though they will come out on top again.


If it means the difference between winning the Premiership or the Champions League, then it will be money well spent
Alan Hansen

It will be great business for Manchester United despite the massive price tag.

Ferdinand showed during the World Cup that he was the best defender in the competition.

And given that United have had problems at centre-half for the past couple they had no option but to buy a quality defender, which is what they have got in Rio.

He is still only 23 and will improve, and I have no doubt that over a period of time Ferdinand will prove to be the best.

Of course a lot of people are saying it is a massive amount of money to pay when transfers are meant to be coming down.

But at the same time, if it means the difference between winning the Premiership or the Champions League, then it will be money well spent.

It will take a while for Ferdinand to settle in, which is only natural. He will be playing with different players and playing in different systems.

England and Manchester United defender Wes Brown
Will Brown partner Ferdinand?

And it's not just a question of getting to know your fellow defenders and your keeper. He will have to adjust to the players in front of him.

However, Rio is a top class player. He is intelligent, he is good on the ball and in the air - basically he has got the lot.

It won't take five minutes, but I reckon by Christmas time we'll see the complete article.

It is difficult to say who Sir Alex Ferguson will choose to play alongside Ferdinand.

As for dream partnerships, you would have to go for Rio Ferdinand and Wes Brown.


Brown has had his problems with injury, but he too is a top class player
Alan Hansen

It is difficult to say who Sir Alex Ferguson will choose to play alongside Ferdinand.

But the Ferdinand-Brown axis looks good and sounds good to me.

Brown has had his problems with injury, but he too is a top class player.

If you get that partnership going and working early on, then it could be one that United fans will be watching for the next seven or eight years at Old Trafford.

And if it does come to fruition, you have suddenly gone from having a problem at that back to having a lot of strength in that area.

Sir Alex has improved his squad by buying better than what he had - Ferdinand is simply a great acquisition.

 VOTE RESULTS
Will Rio solve Man Utd's defensive problems?

Yes
 65.45% 

No
 34.55% 

13970 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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