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Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Rio right for the Reds?
Manchester United unveil their British-record signing Rio Ferdinand after agreeing a 33.5m deal with Leeds United.

Will Rio spur the Reds to success this season?


This debate is now closed.


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

Despite initial reluctance from Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale to sell, a deal in excess of 33m for the 23-year-old finally proved to be too good to resist.

At a press conference at Old Trafford, Rio talked of his gratitude to Leeds and former boss David O'Leary, but said he was keen to improve as a player with United.

Will he live up to expectations at Old Trafford?



Too many hypocritical, small-minded opinions on this page. If a rival multinational company offered you a 100% pay rise, and the opportunity to work with the best professionals in your field and push for honours and awards, we would ALL take it! Why is Rio's situation any different?

He wants to play with the best, against the best, at the highest level he can. A footballer's career is far shorter than any other normal career, they have to take their opportunities when they come by, or they may miss them all together. He's made a career move, and a great one at that!
Seb, England

Leeds showed faith in Ferdinand by investing heavily in a very raw talent, and they gave him the captaincy which no doubt helped him mature into one of the best centre-backs at the last World Cup. How does he repay Leeds? He asks for a transfer to Man Utd.

I think the day you signed for Leeds, your eyes were really set on a move to Old Trafford, but you had the sense to remember the stick Paul Ince got when he left West Ham for Manchester. I can't wish you well, because the way you have conducted yourself over the last few days stinks.
Geoff Crangle, England


Leeds will take the next step forward. Good luck El Tel
Chris, France

Ferguson desperately needs to replace the goalkeeper - he is always the rock on which the team is based. We have never replaced Peter Schmeichel; playing in front of him, average players such as Bruce/Pallister became great players.

I fear that good a player as Rio is, he will be affected by the nervous vibes that come from Barthez, which have become insidious throughout the defence. And without a strong defence, we will continue to win nothing.
Mark Aldridge, UK

Once again all the pundits are fawning to Fergie and United. Alan Hansen is now saying the championship is over because they have signed Rio. Hang on a minute, there are other teams in the league!

How many of you said that Rio was the best defender in the world/Europe or even in England last season? None of you. Now he's worth 30m and United have won the title already. Well believe me, Arsenal and Wenger will have something do say and do about that. The double was no fluke last year!! Think about the records set in one season....

Anyway, you wrote us off last year after Fergie spent 50m so I'm looking forward to the new season with relish....and so are the Champions (the Gunners to all you Fergie fans!!)
Mr D Williams, England

Last season we had major injuries to Dacourt, Kewell, Bridges, Radebe, Batty and more. This season, at full strength, we'll be a force and will qualify for the Champions League. This will be enough to keep the existing players, and lure more. We will take the next step forward. Good luck El Tel.
Chris, France


Rio moving to Manchester will complete the side and will simply make United unbeatable
Lord Chris of Hull, England

It's sad that Rio has left us. Partly because he is world-class and will contribute enormously to any team, and partly because it sends a message to the rest of the team that Leeds isn't a big enough club.

But there is a way forward - you only need to look at how far we have come since Graham left, and remember that it's a long journey to becoming the best. Look at the list of players we have in the squad (Bowyer remaining).

Last season we had major injuries to Dacourt, Kewell, Bridges, Radebe, Batty and more. This season, at full strength, we'll be a force and will qualify for the Champions League. This will be enough to keep the existing players, and lure more. We will take the next step forward. Good luck El Tel.
Chris, France

Rio has made the right decision. Moving to Manchester will complete the side and will simply make United unbeatable. Leeds had no option to sell as the financial situation is well documented...in a way the situation was their own doing.

By buying players using borrowed money you are simply gambling the future of the club....the obvious result was the need to sell to benefit all parties except the loyal support of the paying Leeds United fans.
Lord Chris of Hull, England

I'm surprised at all the 'Judas' comments thrown at Rio Ferdinand (and a host of other players who have moved on to bigger and better clubs for more dosh). Do we criticise our friends and colleagues for changing jobs for more money and better prospects? No - we pat them on the back and wish them well. Why should we treat footballers like Rio any different?
Phil, UK

Joseph Kelly, Ireland said "I think Rio's signing will be great for Man Utd and England, as he will be playing Champions League football." Don't they show English football in Ireland? If they did, then you would know that Man Utd finished THIRD last season which means they may not get into the Champions League.


The beginning of the end has already started for the Red Devils
Mike Buckley, Ireland

He should have joined Liverpool or Arsenal if he wanted to play Champions League football as they are both there and have both won more then United in the last two years.
anon

Ferdinand is a good player...not a great one. The 30m price tag is a joke. By that reckoning, Damien Duff must be worth 40m. Not content with having made the biggest transfer blunder last year forking out 28m for the insipid Veron, they are now resorting to desperate measures to shore up their leaky defence.

With the Neville brothers still ensconced in the team, opponents will still find it quite easy to score against them this season. The beginning of the end has already started for the Red Devils.
Mike Buckley, Ireland

Let's hope Rio's dress sense improves. That white suit he wore yesterday at the Old Trafford press conference, well, it was shocking.
Jimmy, London, UK

Man Utd may have signed a quality player in Rio Ferdinand, but they will still struggle to reclaim the crown, with Liverpool and Arsenal showing greater insight in the transfer market without breaking records.
Danny Heathcote, England

As a supporter of neither Leeds nor Man Utd, I have to commend Mr Ridsdale for a brilliant piece of business. He has sold this player at just the right moment, at the best price he will ever command, to a team which was desperate enough to pay over the odds.


Man Utd have done to Leeds what Leeds did to the Hammers
KC, UK

All the Leeds supporters moaning on this site about the team being finished seem to have amazingly short memories. Only 18 months ago that the team was playing perfectly well without Rio Ferdinand. They give no credit to the rest of the squad for being able to get along without him. I think they will be pleasantly surprised this season.
Tim, USA

I'm looking forward to 14 September when Man Utd come over to Elland Road and Alan Smith is given the task of making a fool out of Ferdinand. Alright, he might not last the 90 minutes and he might end up with a suspension, but he'll show Fergie and co that you can't buy Passion.
Jason, England

I think Rio's signing will be great for Man Utd and England, as he will be playing Champions League football and getting more experience with a great club. Leeds have also won as they have made 12m on a player in less then two years - you can't argue with that.
Joseph Kelly, Ireland

I find it amusing the Leeds fans having a go at Rio and talking about loyalty and dedication. Anyone would think that they discovered him in the first place. You didn't seem too bothered about loyalty when he left West Ham. Man Utd have done to you what you did to the Hammers.
KC, UK


Let's hope that Ferguson contributes to Rio's career in the same way he developed Veron!
Nick, England

I can't help thinking that Fergie has placed all of his proverbial eggs in one basket. One gaping hole has been filled, but what about the other three places at the back? For the last two to three seasons the United defence has been far from secure and has had to rely on the superbly consistent midfield - until the Veron fiasco of last season that is.
Gavin Pollitt, UK

Let's hope that Ferguson contributes to Rio's career in the same way he developed Veron! Leeds should be glad to see the back of a player who, in the end, showed no commitment to anyone other than himself.
Nick, England

Rio had every right to better himself and he has taken the opportunity. Whatever people's views of Manchester United, it has to be recognised that they are the best club around. What ambitious young footballer would not want to play for them? It will undoubtedly improve his performances for England as well, thus the whole country will reap the rewards.
Jamie Clark, New Zealand


For Rio to go to Man Utd of all places is unforgivable
Rachel, England

Rio Ferdinand has undoubtedly made the right move, and it will accelerate his career and personal welfare. For young talent, onwards and upwards should be a mantra. Loyalty and dedication to one club is a thing of the past and it's time people recognized this evident truth. Good luck to all those who seek progress.
Paul McCloskey, England

Congrats to Rio for showing to the whole country that contracts mean nothing, and that today's footballers are becoming nothing more than a group of money-grabbing mercenaries.

So he swapped playing in front of some of the most vociferous and passionate football fans in the world, for a fat cheque and the chance to play in front of a stadium full of 'prawn sandwich' eating commuters from the south. Way to go Rio!
PC, US

It is the right move for Rio, and it highlights the power of Man Utd over the rest of English and European football.
Neil, UK

Despite the fact that Leeds desperately needed a financial boost, for Rio to go to Man Utd of all places is unforgivable. To be contributing to the success of a club that epitomises obsession with money is a big mistake.


Peter Ridsdale has made a mockery of the club and the entire system
JG, Australia

Rio should have stayed with a club whose supporters will stand by them come rain or shine, and worked to help them to success the hard way - at least that way he could retain some self- respect.
Rachel, England

Rio's a great buy, but realistically he is all alone back there. Wes "own goal" Brown is hardly a class defender, and the outside left and right may be the weakest of any team in the top quarter of the Premiership.

Congrats Rio, because you'll have lots of work ahead of you. If this team wants to really upgrade the back, then Wayne Bridge will be the next likely target. Until then they will be exposed time and again to the outside.
Andrew Wild, Canada

I agree totally with Stuart from Leeds (below). Leeds and England are going to lose out, as will Rio himself. Man Utd players not only have not a bad attitude, they have this 'us against them' mentality which can ruin a player. Just look at Roy Keane and his shenanigans during the World Cup preparations.
Stephen, Ireland


Leeds gave Rio the opportunity for a bigger stage and he has shown no real gratitude
Rob, England

I have to agree with the general opinion posted on this page - Peter Ridsdale has made a mockery of the club and the entire system. Despite his comments about Rio not being up for sale, he has sold Ferdinand against his word and his promise.

When O'Leary stood in his way, he was fired. Do Leeds United really need a chairman like this?
JG, Australia

As a United fan I am over the moon that Rio has signed. He will solve all our central defensive problems, and will no doubt become a United legend and a future captain of the club. But Rio is not the final piece in the jigsaw. If we can sell Yorke and buy either Gudjonhsen or Vassell, we will finally get a partner for Ruud who has pace and an eye for goal!
Simon Doyle, England

It's not the first time that Leeds have been dumped on. It's not so long ago that they gave George Graham a route back into football and he dumped them for Tottenham. Rio is no different - Leeds gave him the opportunity for a bigger stage and he has shown no real gratitude.


Leeds have done well to get this kind of money for an overrated player who can easily be replaced
Leon, Scotland

The loyalty once prominent in the game has evaporated. Perhaps it's a time to change the contract rules, as Leeds, like many others, are falling foul consistently
Rob, England

Rio is right to join Manchester United's push for honours. Leeds are a team who have failed to fulfil their potential, and Venables is steering a sinking ship. A player with any reasonable ambition would not touch Elland Road with a bargepole.
David Rainford, England

I believe he had to move for the good of his career as Leeds United are not the club they used to be. He will be welcomed at United with open arms as he has some amazing talent that will allow them to firm up at the back. Good on you Rio!
Lee Aspden, England

This summer has seen the bubble burst for big football clubs. For me the move is not about ambition, it is about greed.

Players who keep demanding bigger salaries will end up finding themselves out of a job or find clubs unwilling to take them on (like the Bowyer situation). Bad move Rio - I think you should have repaid the Leeds board and fans by sticking with them.
Mike Shepherd, West Ham, UK


Credit must go to Peter Ridsdale for wishing Rio well now that he has left
Rob, England

Spending vast amounts of money wasn't what made Man Utd a great team and this formula didn't work last year. Leeds have done well to get this kind of money for an overrated player who can easily be replaced by someone as experienced and astute as Terry Venables.
Leon, Scotland

All the comments that suggest that Leeds have retained some dignity throughout this saga are comical. Leeds are being run by an incompetent board, and have just replaced a great young manager for a man whose main contribution to the game is an orange suntan.
Martin Ohr, Leeds

Credit must go to Peter Ridsdale for wishing Rio well now that he has left. Let's hope that everyone at the club continues to support him, rather than contribute to the obvious flak that Rio will get when he returns to Elland Road as a player for Man Utd.
Rob, England

In these days of fierce football rivalry it's very nice to see Leeds being so charitable to their biggest enemies. I think that all Manchester United fans should stand up and applaud our feeder club for their latest contribution.


Leeds have got the better end of the deal
Jamie Hardman, Manchester

First we got Cantona for the equivalent of the price of a pickled egg, and now Rio. Let's hope that all Leeds fans across the globe can feel proud that they have contributed to another ten years of Manchester United domination.
Mark F, England

Maybe I am old fashioned or an idealist but whatever happened to those players who stuck around long enough to make something happen for their team? Now, as the Rio fiasco demonstrates, it really is only about money and short cuts to "success". NOBODY comes out of this ordeal with any credit except Venables. The Premiership is rapidly becoming as stupid as the NFL in America!
Mike, USA

I think Leeds have made the right decision in letting Rio Ferdinand sign for United. He made it clear that he wanted a move and Leeds have let him. Leeds have got the better end of the deal, they made 12m profit from him in one season and now get to pay off some of their 77m debt.

They now have money for Terry Venables to strengthen the squad elsewhere and try to find some sort of 'replacement' for Rio. I am a Manchester United Fan and I believe Ferdinand is what United need to strengthen the back four!
Jamie Hardman, Manchester, England


What Leeds get out of this is averting bankruptcy and avoiding selling three or more players
John D, London

I think Rio Ferdinand moving to Man Utd is fantastic. He will be a great understudy to Wes Brown - the best defender in the world.
Steven, UK

Rio has definitely made the right choice and I have no doubt he will be a Man Utd legend!
Nick Batiste, United Kingdom

I've been a Leeds fan since the 70s but this whole "Rio-mess" makes me sick. DOL tried to build a great team. DOL: "I'm trying to build a team here, not make Man Utd even greater."

Oh man! I feel so sorry for him. I think DOL was sacked because he would never have sold Rio. Terry is OK and I wish him all the best. I really hope Terry and the boys will kick Man Utd's sorry behinds - especially Rio's - next season. I can't help feeling disappointed, but I hope Terry can turn all this into huge success. Go Leeds!
Stig Kullberg, Finland

Get real guys. Ridsdale is the chairman and Leeds is a a Plc. With no Champions League income this year, his first duty is to the shareholders and to do something about that 77m debt.

30m is good business for a player worth 22m at best. With Bowyer and Keane shying away from transfers, Venables has the cash to get a cheaper replacement. What Leeds get out of this is averting bankruptcy and avoiding selling three or more players.
John D, London

I think all Leeds Utd fans could have accepted a move to Juventus but not to Man Utd. Rio, expect a rough ride when you next show up at Elland Road, especially after some of your comments last week. PS Mr Risdale, do not be suprised if the ground starts to look a bit empty in the next few years.
Peter Andrew, Canada


Did it never occur to Ridsdale that keeping his "asset" could have proved more lucrative in the long term?
Bill Reid, Scotland

Rio is a great defender but the rest of his play is overrated - no-one else was bidding for him - 30m is excellent business for Leeds.
Richard, UK

Mr Ridsdale should now resign as chairman as he has not done his job properly. And I hope that Judas Ferdinand wins nothing with Man Utd. I hope ELL TEL will prove to Ferdinand that he made the wrong decision and win the Premiership.
Ken Evans, UK

With a rock in defence and a man with real fire in his belly in Roy Keane, maybe we'll be able to carry Veron more effectively and win something this year.
Paul, UK

(Sir) Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand have both treated the system of football contracts with complete and utter contempt. Peter Ridsdale says he has a duty to his shareholders to "maximise value of assets".

That's a bit short-sighted, isn't it? Did it never occur to him that keeping his "asset" could have proved more lucrative in the long term? The only person who can hold his head high in this whole sorry mess is Terry Venables. He is the only one who has spoken any sense.
Bill Reid, Scotland

Well, I have really had enough with Premiership soccer now. It shows a lack of ambition on Leeds' part, the fact that Manchester United as the market leader are able to dictate the transfer market and get who they want. Do contracts mean anything now?
Tom, Leeds, UK


You are a disgrace Mr Ridsdale
Chris Oxford, Dubai

Does Peter Ridsdale really think Leeds fans are so dense? It is clear that the Leeds board have engineered this entire thing. The wheels were set in motion during the World Cup.

David O'Leary tried to prevent it and was sacked in the process. Leeds made it abundantly clear that they had financial problems. Ridsdale deliberately left the door ajar and at no point issued a hands-off warning regarding Rio Ferdinand.

He knew that the only club in the world currently that would be willing to pay 30m to Manchester United. At the same time he knows that Leeds fans would never forgive him for selling Rio to United and now he tries to make Rio out to be the bad guy saying he didn't want to play for Leeds again. What a complete farce. You are a disgrace Mr. Ridsdale.
Chris Oxford, Dubai

Apparently Leeds are looking into getting Jaap Stam. Wouldn't be a bad deal to get him for about 8-10m! The other thing is: what if Man Utd don't qualify for the Champions League! Perhaps Leeds could meet them in the Uefa Cup.
HR, UK

Terry Venables said today that contracts are in danger of becoming a farce. I totally agree. Peter Ridsdale stated that Rio was not for sale and that he has a clause on his contract preventing him from moving to another Premiership club!

Peter Ridsdale calls it a return on investment, yet Leeds have won nothing. Where is the commitment to long term success by players or directors? Let's hope El Tel shows a credibility and integrity in management
Gerry, N. Ireland

Rio says that he wants Champions League football. Why can't he stick with a team that is obviously capable of qualifying next year for that competition, and then at least he can say he was part of the team that got there?


Ridsdale should be sacked for failing to meet employment expectations as chairman of Leeds United Plc
GB, Australia

I agree completely with Venables when he talks about the worthlessness of contracts, and more than ever I hope Manchester fail in the Champions League, whilst Leeds finish better in the league and maybe win the Uefa cup, to demonstrate to Rio that he made the wrong move.

He believed in Leeds' potential when he signed, and given that the team has changed little and the change in manager seems to be a good move, surely this can't be his real reason for moving? I think that Rio going to the World Cup was the most damaging event, as it seems to have given him a big head - 'I was a World Cup star, I'm too good for Leeds' seems to be his thinking.
Chris, England

Ridsdale should be sacked for failing to meet employment expectations as chairman of Leeds United Plc. Over the past few months he has alienated one of the best midfielders in the country in Lee Bowyer, to the extent that he no longer wants to play for the club.

He has dismissed David O'Leary, arguably the best young manager in the business, for finishing 'only' fifth again, the lowest position the team has ever finished under him and a position which many teams have NEVER achieved. Not only that, it was achieved after the extreme off-field complications he had to contend with.


Mr Ferdinand and United deserve each other
Martyn Ranns, Essex UK

And he has now sold Rio Ferdinand, a world class player, to the team whose performances he claims he wants Leeds to emulate and that is despite (obviously hollow) statements made on more than one occasion that 'Rio is not for sale'.

I have been a Leeds Supporter since moving to Leeds in 1962 but with Ferdinand's sale to Manchester, I have finished completely with Leeds United. I wouldn't care if they were in the Conference League so long as they were trying - but selling Ferdinand shows a complete lack of serious ambition.
GB, Australia

Leeds have really pulled a fast one over Man Utd. Ferdinand is over-rated; if he wasn't British Leeds wouldn't have dared to ask that much. He'll help out Man U but Leeds must be laughing their heads off at the moment.
Vicki, England

This is a massive blunder by both United and Ferdinand. United have bought a player who is vastly over-rated whilst Ferdinand has joined a team in decline. This transaction is another that has been driven by big money which will one day kill our beautiful game. Mr Ferdinand and United deserve each other.
Martyn Ranns, Essex UK

On paper United now certainly appear to be a serious force to be reckoned with for this coming season. The addition of Rio to the ranks can only bring good things.

I think Wenger, Houllier and the rest of the top Premiership bosses will be quaking in their boots when United hit town. A trophy free season and a board well-prepared to shell out to lug the gaps at the back shows we mean business. And what's more I think Forlan and Veron will prove their worth this season.
David, UK


This is a bitter pill for Leeds fans to swallow
Arnab Chanda, England/India/USA

As a lifelong Leeds fan, I am pleased that this sorry episode has come to an end. Now Leeds United can carry on looking forward to gaining some honours now, under Terry Venables.

It was obvious to me that Rio was not dedicated enough to help Leeds in this adventure. In the end, the players who are committed to Leeds will show their resolve. And without Ferdinand, we still have some world class players.
Rick Wiltshire, England

This is a bitter pill for Leeds fans to swallow, and it all started because of the sacking of O'Leary. It's a big blow for the club, and means that Leeds have to once again start rebuilding the squad.
Arnab Chanda, England/India/USA

Rio Ferdinand has made the best move of his career. After you go to the World Cup you want to be playing regular Champions League football to continue to improve your skills and play against some of the best players in the world. Rio will win loads of medals at Old Trafford!
Ayodele Odumade, United Kingdom

I think Rio is wrong to move. At Leeds he is playing with a defensive partnership that could include three of the England back-four, while at Man Utd he could well be playing with a side that has shown last season as to be tired, less than hungry for honour and possibly on the verge of a major shake-up.
Stuart Thompson, England and Leeds


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