Manchester United are set to appoint club legend Rio Ferdinand, who was once the teammate of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as the Sporting Director after talks with club chief Ed Woodward.
Rio Ferdinand has met with Ed Woodward to discuss the former England defender possibly becoming Manchester United’s sporting director, Sportsmail can reveal. Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, is seriously considering bringing Ferdinand back to the club in a major role.
United owners the Glazer family have been keen to get Ferdinand on board since his retirement four years ago, but personal circumstances made that unworkable. However, the timing could now be right. United are currently restructuring the club and weighing up appointing someone to guide transfer strategy and oversee negotiations while being in tune with the manager.
United have also been impressed with Ferdinand’s analytical approach as a BT Sport pundit, with the 40-year-old offering committed opinions that come from the environment which brought such success in Sir Alex Ferguson’s era. Ferdinand enjoyed a glittering career at Old Trafford after becoming Britain’s most expensive footballer at £30million in 2002.
He stayed for 12 seasons, becoming captain at the club and winning six Premier League titles, one Champions League, and two League Cups. He earned 81 England caps, appearing at two World Cups, and is regarded as one of the finest centre-backs in Premier League history.
Ferdinand was a team-mate of United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s between 2002 and 2007. The Glazers retain a relationship with Ferdinand from his playing days and have tried to bring him back to the club before. Ferdinand’s parental responsibilities made that difficult but Woodward has opened discussions to see if circumstances might now work.
United want to use their rich heritage in a similar way to Ajax, where Edwin Van Der Sar is chief executive officer and Marc Overmars is director of football. As revealed last week by Sportsmail, Mike Phelan has also held talks with United over the technical director position, which is focussed on maintaining standards at Carrington and leading the academy. Darren Fletcher’s name has been mentioned as another addition in this area too. It is unclear how the final structure will shape up.