Rio Ferdinand says he would be worth at least £125 million in today's market

Move over Virgil van Dijk. Harry Maguire is now the most expensive defender in football history.

Manchester United paid £80 million for the 26-year-old, surpassing the £75m fee that Liverpool spent on Van Dijk in 2018.

Maguire is an upgrade on Phil Jones and Chris Smalling and there’s a hope that he can have the same impact at Old Trafford that Van Dijk has had at Anfield.

And speaking exclusively to GiveMeSport, BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand – who held the title of world’s most expensive defender when he joined Man United from Leeds for £30m in 2002 – hopes Maguire can justify his price tag, just like he did during his highly-decorated United career.

“He doesn’t set the fee. It’s life,” Ferdinand says. “I went for £30 million at the time and everybody said that’s too much, too much, too much.

“12, 13 years down the line, it was a bargain.

“Hopefully Harry can be the same.”

It’s 17 years since Ferdinand commanded a £30m fee and transfer fees since then have skyrocketed.

And the 40-year-old, who won six Premier League titles with United, reckons he’d be worth at least £125 million in today’s market.

“The bidding would start at £125 million,” he adds. “You can’t get this for less than a hundred!”

He says it with a smile on his face – but he’s probably right.

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Ferdinand is comfortably one of the very best defenders to have played in the Premier League, being named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year on six occasions.

Indeed during the peak of his powers, Sir Alex Ferguson described him as the “best centre-half in the world by far”.

Ferdinand believes that Maguire will bring more to United than just quality in defence.

The Red Devils have lacked a leader in defence for some time now but Ferdinand believes the England international will change that.

“He’s got some great attributes, I think that in terms of receiving the ball, taking the responsibility, taking the ball in tight areas, driving out with the ball, he’s up there with the best in the game, if not the best in those areas,” he continues.

“But I think an important part of his game, and an important part that Man United need, is someone with the personality, to take on that responsibility of being a leader from the back and I feel like he possesses those qualities.

“From people that I’ve spoke to, they feel that he has that in him to do that and someone to come in and lead from the back is something Man United have been missing for a while now so hopefully he can fill that void.”

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