3. Rio Ferdinand
Leeds United – 2000-2002
Manchester United – 2002-2014
Ferdinand joined Leeds from West Ham for £18M in 2000, a then-record transfer fee. He played 54 times in 2 seasons as Leeds. In his season-and-a-half at Elland Road, Ferdinand experienced the best of Leeds in the post-Wilkinson era. The club waded into the thick of the fight for the Premier League title and became the story of the Champions League in 2001.
When the time came for a firesale at Elland Road the England international was one of the first players to jump ship. Sir Alex stepped in and paid £29.1M for Ferdinand, another record. The board at Leeds made more than £12m profit on his transfer to Manchester United in 2002.
Rio Ferdinand proved himself to be one of the finest defenders in world football during 12 successful years at Manchester United. He is one of the most decorated English footballers of all time and regarded by many as one of England’s greatest ever players.
2. Johnny Giles
Manchester United – 1957-1963
Leeds United – 1963-1975
Diminutive, fleet-footed, and quick-thinking, Giles was the unsung hero of Revie’s Leeds, diligently probing the midfield, snuffing out opposition attacks and building moves.
Giles spent 6 years at OT between 1957 and 1963 playing 93 times alongside the likes of Charlton and Law and winning the FA Cup in his final season. He then moved to Leeds for £33,000.
His slight physique belied a combative streak which allowed Revie to transform him into a central midfielder having spent much of his early career out on the wing. Next to Bremner, Giles would go on to patrol Leeds’ midfield throughout the 1960s and ‘70s.
Winning Division One, FA Cup, Fairs Cup and League Cup winner’s medals, Giles was a prolific penalty taker, converting 44 spot-kicks among his 115 goals
1. Eric Cantona
Leeds United – 1992
Manchester United – 1992-1997
Eric Cantona helped Leeds to win the final First Division title in 1992. Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson then allowed him to move to Manchester United in November of that year for a fee of £1.2M.
The Frenchman was a catalyst for Manchester United’s Premier League dominance and became a cult figure at Old Trafford. He is widely regarded as one of the best players ever to don the shirt. Cantona scored 64 goals in 144 appearances for Man Utd but his influence went way beyond that.
One of the bargains of the century you might say. He brought the winning mentality in the United’s side and made them one of the best teams in the country.