The former Red Devils midfielder considers an England international centre-half that he played alongside to be better than one now at Old Trafford
Harry Maguire may be the most expensive defender in world football, but the £80 million ($96m) man is no Rio Ferdinand, says former Manchester United midfielder Kleberson.
The Red Devils moved to break that transfer record once again over the summer, with a big-money deal done with Premier League rivals Leicester.
United raised that particular bar for the first time back in 2002, with Ferdinand lured away from arch-rivals Leeds.
Some 17 years on and another England international centre-half has been acquired to bolster the back line at Old Trafford.
Maguire has made a bright start to his time in Manchester, but Kleberson believes he will forever operate in the shadow of a United legend.
He told Your-promotional-code: “If you look back, Ferdinand was unbelievable. And I don’t think anyone could be close to his level of performance.
“His style was totally different to the current United defenders. His commitment to regain the ball was smart, he covered space well against players like [Didier] Drogba.
“I don’t see Maguire or [Victor] Lindelof being able to do the same. They’re far, far away from Ferdinand. Rio is one of the best I’ve played with.
“I always knew one-on-one he was going to win the ball, so I could prepare to receive to receive the ball from him and attack. I was 100 per cent sure he would win the ball.”
While Maguire is considered to be short of Ferdinand’s standard, Kleberson admits he is a shrewd addition for United’s class of 2019.
The Brazilian added: “Harry Maguire is a big name for any English club.
“In the World Cup he did a good job, but he’s going to have a few tough moments in one on one’s and his pace is not the best.
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“United need to ensure he’s helped by a strong midfield, to help cover him and defend as a unit.
“I don’t know if he will manage to cover on his own like at times against Chelsea.”
Maguire helped the Red Devils to a 4-0 victory over Chelsea on debut and has already become the main man in a defensive unit which has struggled for stability and consistency over recent years.
“In the Premier League, you have a lot of good strikers but not as many good defenders,” said Kleberson.
“Maguire has moved for a lot of money but I think the defenders aren’t as good in the league as they were a few years ago, therefore teams need to pay more.
“With Maguire and Lindelof, I don’t know if [Chris] Smalling and [Phil] Jones need to leave but of course their opportunities to play will be a bit less.
“Especially as the new defenders have played very well in their first opportunity.”