On this day in 2000, Rio Ferdinand became the world’s most expensive defender after West Ham accepted an £18million offer from Leeds.
The deal shattered the previous world best of £13million paid by Roma for Argentina international Walter Samuel and was also a British record, usurping the £15million paid for Alan Shearer and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
Ferdinand’s move was not actually rubber-stamped until a few days later, with the 22-year-old signing a five-and-a-half year contract, and he was paraded in front of the Leeds fans before their home game against Arsenal on November 26.
His debut came on December 2 away at Leicester and it was one to forget as David O’Leary’s team found themselves 3-0 down after just half-an-hour, eventually losing 3-1.
It was the first of 53 Premier League appearances Ferdinand made during his 18 months at Elland Road before making another high profile move to Manchester United in the summer of 2002.
It was at Old Trafford where Ferdinand would really establish himself as one of the world’s best. The £30million fee paid by the Red Devils saw him become Britain’s most expensive player for the second time.
Ferdinand won 10 major trophies with Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, including six Premier League titles and a Champions League.