Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Leeds Reject Rio's Transfer Request

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Leeds Reject Rio's Transfer Request

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID BOND

LEEDS UNITED today rejected a formal transfer request from pound sterling30million England defender Rio Ferdinand.

After days of agonising amid speculation linking the former West Ham player with a move to Manchester United, Ferdinand finally made his mind up about his future by asking for a move.

Ferdinand, 23, said: "For the past three days I have been torn apart. I love Leeds and the people of Leeds.

"The club took a huge risk on me and I will never forget that."

But the Yorkshire club immediately turned down Ferdinand's transfer request with chairman Peter Ridsdale insisting the Leeds captain must honour the remaining four years of his contract.

Ridsdale, who was faxed the request at his holiday home in France, said: "Rio has asked for a transfer. The request has been rejected. He has four years remaining on his contract and we expect him to respect that contractual obligation."

Ferdinand's agent Pinhas Zahavi said the transfer request was prompted by the defender's desire to play top European football, although he claimed the player will not drag his heels if Leeds refuse to compromise.

Zahavi said: "If they say no, then he will stay. He is a loyal soldier. But he would be very happy to join Manchester United. He wants to play for a bigger and

better club. He wants to play in the Champions League.

"Going to the World Cup has given him the appetite to participate in a very high level of football. He wants to be competing for titles and medals.

"But I must reiterate that he is very happy at Leeds. He is not unhappy and he feels at home. If Leeds say he cannot go then he will honour the contract."

However, the ball is now firmly in Manchester United's court.

Having offered Ferdinand a pound sterling40,000a-week pay rise to take his weekly salary to pound sterling70,000, it is now a question of whether United are prepared to meet Leeds's asking price. …

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