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Monday, 24 June, 2002, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Man Utd admit Ferdinand interest
Rio Ferdinand
An impressive World Cup has boosted Ferdinand's value
Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon admits he has held talks with Leeds United about signing their England defender Rio Ferdinand.

Kenyon told the Red Devils' official website he had been in contact with his Elland Road counterpart Peter Ridsdale over Ferdinand's possible 30m move to Old Trafford.

But he insisted all follow-up discussions had been put on hold until the end of World Cup.

"Over the next few weeks things will start to develop but there is nothing at the minute," Kenyon said.

"I have spoken to Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale. At that stage Ferdinand was not for sale and there has been no other contact since then.


Whether Leeds are prepared to sell him is another matter
Man Utd chairman Martin Edwards

"Tentative enquiries have been made about players because we are obviously looking at our squad for next season."

Leeds chief Ridsdale has insisted Ferdinand is not for sale and that he will have to ask to leave Elland Road before the club consider selling him.

Leeds are 30m in debt and need to sell players this summer.

The Daily Express suggested Ferdinand would not have to go if Leeds managed to sell Robbie Keane to Sunderland and Lee Bowyer to Arsenal.

Ferdinand himself has played down the transfer speculation, saying he is happy to stay at Elland Road.

The Leeds star, who added millions to his transfer value with a succession of impressive performances at the World Cup, said he was keen to rest after his hectic season.

"I've heard all the speculation about me possibly leaving and as far as I'm concerned it's up to Leeds," he said.

"If they want to keep me I will be staying, if they decide to sell me that's different.

"I'm planning to go on my holidays and just intend to relax."

Man Utd chairman Martin Edwards earlier told BBC Radio Five Live it was "no secret that Ferdinand is a great player who would certainly improve our squad".

"Whether Leeds are prepared to sell him is another matter," he added.

For his part, Leeds boss David O'Leary says it would need a bid of over 30m to prise his star defender away from Elland Road.

Although O'Leary will fight to keep his captain, he says he will not stand in Ferdinand's way if he wants to go.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Man Utd chairman Martin Edwards
"It's no secret Ferdinand would improve our squad"

arrow
 MEN'S FINAL PREVIEW
Ronaldo won the World Cup and the Golden Boot
 LINEKER'S VERDICT
Gary Lineker

See also:

16 Jun 02 | England
12 Jun 02 | England
21 Jun 02 | Newsmakers
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