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Rio: the full story

Filed: Friday, 1st December 2000
By: Staff Writer

Last night Harry Redknapp sensationally revealed that West Ham United had finally agreed to sell Rio Ferdinand to Leeds for a British record transfer fee of £18m. We take a look back at how KUMB has followed the 'Rio to Leeds' saga, starting back in April, and ending up last night with the news that every Hammers fan had been dreading.

12th April 2000
"'Our future is still about bringing through more local youngsters like Rio Ferdinand" - Harry Redknapp

29th April
West Ham boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed that Leeds have made an official approach for Rio Ferdinand.

"David O'Leary did enquire about Rio" said Harry in an interview last night. "But we're not interested in selling any of our young stars. We want to go forward as a club and selling Rio now would be a backward step."

16th May
Leeds United are to continue their efforts to lure Rio Ferdinand away from Upton Park.

Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale has been in touch with West Ham and is said to be ready to break the British record transfer fee of £10.5m for a defender in order to procure the services of the England centre-back.

29th May
West Ham boss Harry Redknapp has lashed out at media stories reporting the impending departure of Rio Ferdinand.

The constant speculation has riled Harry who blasted today: "I'm sick to death of hearing that Rio's about to leave us and sign for Leeds. There's no substance in the rumours at all - It just isn't going to happen.

"Rio has made it absolutely clear to me that if and when he does leave West Ham it won't be for another Premiership club, but for one of the top clubs abroad."

31st May
Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale has dismissed reports once again linking his club with Rio Ferdinand as 'pure speculation'.

"There is no chance that any deal will be done with Rio Ferdinand" said the Leeds chairman. "I can only guess these stories are pure speculation as I have not spoken with West Ham. I have not spoken with Rio Ferdinand and David O'Leary has not spoken to me about it either."

8th July
Hammers boss Harry Redknapp has angrily denied the latest media reports linking Rio Ferdinand with a move to Leeds United.

"This Rio rubbish is a complete pile of b*llocks," Harry stormed. "The biggest load of fiction so far this summer.

"I'm absolutely furious that after answering truthfully all the questions I've been asked some people are ready to go away and write the story anyway," he fumed. "They make themselves look stupid - and why would I talk like this if there is anything in it?

"Leeds approached us about Rio two months ago and the figures being discussed were £15m upwards because we have no intention of selling," laughed Harry. "Look at the stories - My chairman isn't quoted, Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale isn't quoted - I'm telling you straight, they aren't buying Rio Ferdinand."

11th July
"None of my players are going anywhere. If I say so that's how it is and my chairman knows it too" - Harry Redknapp

14th July
"I haven't got to answer to anyone because I haven't said I want to go and the club haven't said they want to sell me. As long as I'm happy at West Ham, there isn't a problem. And I'm happy to be a West Ham player as long as we're making progress, doing well in the Premiership and trying to win a cup.

"If I wasn't happy I wouldn't still be here. I have never talked to anyone from Leeds. They are a big club with plenty of tradition but, like West Ham, they haven't won anything for a while now" - Rio Ferdinand

25th July
"It doesn't matter how much we're offered, he won't be leaving yet. In a couple of years time, if, say Barcelona come in for him with a fantastic offer, it would be hard for me to keep him - but for now he's staying" - Harry Redknapp

6th August
"I have spoken to West Ham and expressed our interest in Rio Ferdinand, and said that we would wish to buy him if he became available" - Peter Ridsdale

8th August
"I understand that Leeds are prepared to go to £15m for him, but he's not going there. We have said all along that we want to keep Rio and I believe it is not the right time for him to go.

"The truth is though that I don't want to lose Rio. I believe we could have a successful season and I want him to be part of it" - Harry Redknapp

12th August
Harry Redknapp has hit out following the appearance in the tabloids of yet another story linking Rio Ferdinand with a possible move to Leeds.

"Iím fed up with it all - I know whatís been going on. Peter Ridsdale is obviously trying to unsettle my player and Iím fed up reading stories like this. It's unsettling for Rio and for this club. Now, if Barcelona knock on the door we've got real problems because I couldn't say no to the boy. But why should we sell him to Leeds? He's better off here."

Bur Ridsdale, who could face repercussions from the FA should claims of an illegal approach be substantiated, hit back when he said: "Some weeks ago, and I stress it was several weeks ago, I asked West Ham chairman Terry Brown if Rio Ferdinand was for sale.

"He said he wasnít so I asked to be kept informed if that position should change.

"I have reiterated on numerous occasions since then that we have made no bid for Rio Ferdinand, nor would we do so unless their chairman informed us that West Hamís position had altered.

"I am extremely disappointed that the West Ham manager appears to imply something different."

14th August
"All I am concerned with is playing football for West Ham and getting back in the England team - those are my main objectives for this season ... it can be unsettling to have your name touted about all the time but that is part and parcel of football" - Rio Ferdinand

15th August
"Why should I want to sell my best players? Liverpool, Man.Utd, Chelsea - they don't, so why should we? We're a Premiership club - we've got no need to sell anyone" - Harry Redknapp

2nd September
Hammers boss Harry Redknapp has revealed that Leeds United have made a fresh bid to take defender Rio Ferdinand to Elland Road.

"Leeds have come back in with another £15million bid for Rio Ferdinand and the news that transfers could soon be scrapped made it a massive temptation to sell," he admitted to the Racing Post. "I had a long talk with the chairman and we decided to resist again, even though in a year Rio could just walk out. That's what could well happen if the European Commission gets its way and bans transfers."

4th September
Harry Redknapp has revealed for the first time just how close he came to selling Rio Ferdinand to Leeds United last week.

"(Leeds) really wanted to get him registered to play in the Champions League, and to be honest it was not an easy decision when you look at this transfer market situation," said Harry. "For the first time I was tempted. I was thinking 'maybe you take the money because who knows, in six weeks' time you might be able to pick up three or four players for next to nothing because clubs are going to start panicking'. But we decided we really want him here; he is too important for us."

22nd September
"I'm more than happy with what's happening at the moment. I've not said that I want to leave ... it's the paper's blowing it all up again" - Rio Ferdinand

"They won't give up will they. Rio is a great defender and could easily end up the best in Europe. Leeds know it" - Harry Redknapp

2nd October
Tabloid reports claimed today that Leeds had brought in experienced football agent Rune Hauge to tie up the deal which would see Rio Ferdinand move to Elland Road for £15m.

But yet again the club have categorically denied that any deal has, or is about to take place.

Hammers MD Paul Aldridge reiterated: "Nothing has changed, and at the last board meeting it wasn't even discussed. There is an offer for Rio on the table from Leeds, but that has been there for some time. But there has been no acceptance from us."

13th November
Harry Redknapp has confessed that he would find it difficult to refuse any bid for Rio Ferdinand that exceeds Leeds United original £15m summer offer.

Redknapp, speaking after the Hammers 4-1 victory over Manchester City at Upton Park on Saturday said: "I know Rio wonít be here for ever. Itís not easy to keep turning down £15m for a player. Iíve been fighting off all the clubs and the chairman has always backed me.

ďIf we got an offer of £17m or £18m, we would have a problem.Ē

17th November
West Ham boss Harry Redknapp has told Sky Sports that he believes Rio Ferdinand has more 'ability' than the great Bobby Moore ever had, on the eve of the game with Rio admirers, Leeds United.

Redknapp said: "Bobby was the top man here and a great mate of mine. But if he were around today he'd say to me: 'I wish I had some of his ability.'

"Rio's got much more ability than Bobby ever had. Bobby made himself into a great player but he had no pace. Rio's got plenty of pace, he can head a ball and he can pass it.

"David O'Leary isn't a complete mug wanting to pay £15 million for Rio," said Harry. "He's a very shrewd man."

18th November
"I donít want to sell Rio - heís one of the kids who have come through the youth policy and we really want to keep him. Weíve got to build our football club around Rio and Frank, Joe and Michael Carrick. They are the future of this football club and I really donít want to be selling those people" - Harry Redknapp, Leeds post-match press conference

21st November 2000
Hammers boss Harry Redknapp has sensationally confirmed this evening that West Ham have accepted a world record £18m offer from Leeds United for Rio Ferdinand.

"Leeds have come back in and made an £18m offer and obviously it's a lot of money," he said. "With the transfer system what it is at the moment, it could all fall to pieces in a month's time and he could be walking away for next to nothing.

"I'm not in a position to say 'no, we're not going to take £18m'. From a business point of view it's an offer the club can't refuse and I understand and accept that."

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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