Leeds paid West Ham United a then-British record £18million for Ferdinand in 2000, and Matteo has revealed that he and Mark Viduka were used by the Yorkshire club to finance the deal.
Matteo, who makes the revelation in his new autobiography, 'In my Defence: Dominic Matteo. The Autobiography', said: “The moment I first started to think things were maybe not what they seemed came just a couple of months after I’d signed from Liverpool.
“Mark Viduka and myself were called into a meeting where it was put to us that the club wanted to lease us out to an American finance company, with the money received being used to fund Rio’s transfer.
“We were assured this was routine, and my agent and my financial adviser looked at the contract and said it was fine. I went along with it, because I thought it was a chance for the club to bring a top defender to the club.
“But I did feel uneasy and, with hindsight, I can see the club was over-reaching itself even then.”