Manchester United Transfers: 11 Up-and-Coming Defenders To Replace Rio Ferdinand

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Manchester United Transfers: 11 Up-and-Coming Defenders To Replace Rio Ferdinand
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

So, is Rio Ferdinand on his bike? The media is daily full of rumours of interest from other clubs, mainly following Manchester United's catastrophic loss to Manchester City.

Although, in another article, I placed the blame firmly on Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra, many have suggested that Rio was to blame and that he's 'past his sell-by date' at age 32.

Personally, I don't subscribe to that theory. Rio has always had the vision and speed of thought to be one step ahead. It is the main reason why he has been such a great centre back; and is also why he can look like he's taking the game easy.

Sir Alex has quite rightly recommended that Rio take account of his loss of pace and adjust his play accordingly. That doesn't mean Rio should be pensioned off, however.

Paolo Maldini played for Milan until he was 41 and Fabio Cannavaro has only recently retired, having played for Juventus and Italy until he was 37.

Yes, the Italian Serie A can seem more sedate than the Premier League at times, but it can also be just as hard, as Gennaro Gattuso and Marco Matterazzi have shown.

Among those clubs said to be interested in signing Rio are Roma and Tottenham Hotspur. Harry Redknapp isn't a bad judge of beefcake and, if he wants Rio, why would Sir Alex want to let him go....?

However, rumours suggest that United are unwilling to discuss a contract extension to his 2013 deal.

Part of Sir Alex's long term strategy has always been to have young talent coming through. Here we discuss possible younger Rio 'lookalikes' who the Boss might sign in January, together with the potential replacements already on the books at Old Trafford.

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