Manchester United Transfers: Top 10 Possible Replacements for Rio Ferdinand

Zaakir HoosenAnalyst IJanuary 12, 2011

Manchester United Transfers: Top 10 Possible Replacements for Rio Ferdinand

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    WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01:  Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United shouts instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns on January 1, 2011 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Amongst the toughest jobs for any coach or manager is to replace one of your star players, especially one who has lead the team on numerous occasions.

    Rio Ferdinand is now 32 years of age, and playing at the highest level means that he needs to be at his best in terms of fitness and form if he hopes to continue playing for Manchester United.

    His one of those players who you don't see leaving, his a stalwart in the United defence, stands big and tall at 6 ft 3 12 in (1.92m) and amongst his countless qualities are those of leadership and control.

    Finding the correct replacement for someone with such distinguished qualities will be a tough job, but one that Sir Alex will welcome.

    Rio has one or two seasons at most, with recurring back injuries and the tough nature of the Premier League, I doubt he will continue beyond his 34th birthday. 

    Since joining Manchester United from Leeds in 2002 for a massive £30 million, he has continued to contribute to the success and growth of the United brand.

    So in this slide show we preview ten players who could prove worthy of replacing the big man at the back, a job that won't be as easy as any other.

01. Gary Cahill

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    BOLTON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 31:  Fernando Torres of Liverpool tangles with Gary Cahill of Bolton Wanderers during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool at the Reebok Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Bolton, England. (Photo b
    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Name: Gary James Cahill

    Current Team: Bolton Wanderers

    Age: 25

    Nationality: English

    Height: 1.88m (6ft 2in)

    Gary Cahill has long been a target of Sir Alex, also being English is a plus especially with the new laws in place, in terms of player squad limitations.

    Cahill also brings experience, and very importantly, he is already playing in the Premier League and is well versed in the style and culture.

    At Age 25 he is at the correct age in terms of experience and maturity and at the same time has enough time to grow further.

    He would be the ideal replacement.

02. David Luiz

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    DERBY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 11:  David Luiz of Brazil in action during the International Friendly match between Brazil and Ukraine at Pride Park Stadium on October 11, 2010 in Derby, England.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Name: David Luiz Moreira Marinho

    Current Team: Benfica

    Age: 23

    Nationality: Brazilian

    Height: 1.88m (6ft 2in)

    David is another one of the many Brazilians that have come to Europe and have attracted interest. He is highly skillful with good awareness and of course, being Brazilian, he has the flair and trickery that comes with the package.

    He also possesses great speed and toughness on the pitch, something that can be harnessed into so much more in the fast English game.

03. Nicolás Otamendi

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    POLOKWANE, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 22:  Nicolas Otamendi of Argentina lines up for the national anthems prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group B match between Greece and Argentina at Peter Mokaba Stadium on June 22, 2010 in Polokwane, South Afric
    Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    Name:  Nicolás Hernán Gonzalo Otamendi

    Current Team: FC Porto

    Age: 22

    Nationality: Argentinian

    Height: 1.83m (6ft 0in)

    Very little is known about Otamendi, he is seen as part of the next generation of Argentine players, having made his appearance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup under Maradona. 

    He has since moved to Europe for FC Porto.

    Being Argentinian, he comes with great strength and toughness, one of those players who's prepared to take a knock or two for the course.

04. Nuno André Coelho

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    LISBON, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 22:  Nuno Coelho of Sporting Lisbon reacts during the Portuguese Liga football match between Sporting Lisbon and  Maritimo at Alvalade Stadium on August 22, 2010 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Patricia De Melo Moreira/EuroFootbal
    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Name: Nuno André da Silva Coelho

    Current Team: Sporting CP

    Age: 25

    Nationality: Portuguese

    Height: 1.92m (6ft 3 12in)

    Another player who many might have not heard of before this, he is tall and and has great aerial ability.

05. Mateo Musacchio

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    Name: Mateo Pablo Musacchio

    Current Team: Villareal

    Age: 20

    Nationality: Argentinian

    Height: 1.80m (5ft 11in)

    Still very early in his career, but the Argentine has already pushed himself into the Villareal first team.  He also represented Argentina at U/17 and U/20 levels, and many predict he will receive a national team call-up very soon.

    He is one of those player that can be considered for the future keeping in mind that he is still only 20 years of age.

06. Per Mertesacker

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    DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 07:  Dejected Per Mertesacker after being knocked out of the tournament is consoled by Sergio Ramos of Spain during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Semi Final match between Germany and Spain at Durban Stadium on July 7, 20
    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Name: Per Mertesacker

    Current Team: Werder Bremen

    Age: 27

    Nationality: German

    Height: 1.98m (6ft 6in)

    A well known figure on the International scene, Per has made over 70 appearances for the German national team, he was also part of the squad that represented Germany at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa last June.

    He has many great qualities, one amongst them is his height, at almost two meters he will pose a huge threat in the air during free kicks and corners.

    He is known amongst his competitors for displaying a very clean game, in terms of tackling. On the other hand, he also has a healthy scoring record for a defender, as the obvious aerial threat when attacking.

07. Leonardo Bonucci

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    KLAGENFURT, AUSTRIA - NOVEMBER 17:  Leonardo Bonucci of Italy during the international friendly match between Italy and Romania at Hypo-Arena on November 17, 2010 in Klagenfurt, Austria.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Name: Leonardo Bonucci

    Current Team: Juventus

    Age: 23

    Nationality: Italian

    Height: 1.90m (6ft 3in)

    Young, tall and tough...He brings everything to the table, and he is Italian which means a few punches here and there will only only ignite the passion further.

08. Mamadou Sakho

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    PARIS - MAY 01: Defender Mamadou Sakho of Paris Saint Germain football club is seen during the French Football Cup Final at Stade de France on May 1, 2010 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
    Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

    Name: Mamadou Sakho

    Current Team: PSG

    Age: 20

    Nationality: French

    Height: 1.87m (6ft 2in)

    Quickly becoming one of the more liked defender at PSG, at only 20 years old he is known for his hard-working effort and leadership credentials.

    He has represented France from U/16 level right up to the national team making his first appearance in 2010.

    Amongst his many qualities, he has been praised for his physical and tactical abilities.

09. Heiko Westermann

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    BERLIN - NOVEMBER 19:  John Terry of England rises to head his team's second goal past Heiko Westermann of Germany during the International Friendly match between Germany and England at the Olympic Stadium on November 19, 2008 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo b
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Name: Heiko Westermann

    Current Team: Hamburg SV

    Age: 27

    Nationality: German

    Height: 1.90m (6ft 3in)

    Another German on the list, Heiko is known for his all-round abilities; he is a great defender with height and physicality on his side. Bus also the 27-year-old is known for his scoring ability, and has been used as a midfielder at times.

10. Slobodan Rajković

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    Name: Slobodan Rajković

    Current Team: Vitesse—Loan (Chelsea Player)

    Age: 21

    Nationality: Serbian

    Height: 1.91m (6ft 3in)

    Rajković, a player that could be exactly what United are looking for, but could be just a bit too far out of Sir Alex's reach.

    Contracted to Chelsea since the age of 16, he has never made his debut until now, currently playing for Vitesse in the Netherlands.

    He made his appearance for the Serbian U/21 team at the age of 16, and soon became a regular member of the squad.

At Manchester United

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    TORONTO - JULY 16: Chris Smalling #12 of Manchester United carries the ball against of Celtic F.C. during a friendly match at the Rogers Centre July 16, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Manchester United won 3-1.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
    Abelimages/Getty Images

    So with the list in mind, and the known character of Sir Alex we are well aware that the Scott won't just jump at the opportunity to sign just about anyone.

    He has in his locker room the likes of:

    Johnny Evans

    Chris Smalling

    John O'Shea

    Wes Brown

    And also the following players coming from the Academy and Reserve team:

    Richie De Leat

    Joe Dudgeon

    Oliver Gill

    While looking at many of these names, it's clear none of them look as healthy replacements for Ferdinand, but with time and experience many of them can grow into excellent defenders.

    Chris Smalling and Johnny Evans look  to be on their way to consistent first team action—at least in Cup ties.

    Ferguson will have a season or so to find the suitable candidate, with Rio still in good shape and enough cover in the above mentioned players.


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