Rio Ferdinand is contemplating leaving Manchester United at the end of the season with the option of a big money move to China on the table, according to the Guardian.

Ferdinand has been a mainstay of the Manchester Untied defence since he joined in 2002 for a then record £30 million, and has made over 400 appearances for the Red Devils in his ten years at the club.

Ferdinand’s contract expires in the summer, and while Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson recently stated his belief that he could play on for ‘two or three more years’, the 34-year-old is keeping his options open over his future.

One possible avenue should he decide to leave Manchester United when is contract is up is to follow in the footsteps of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka by heading to China.

According to the Guardian, Ferdinand will most likely head abroad should he leave Old Trafford in the summer, with at least one lucrative offer from an unnamed Chinese club on the table.

Speaking to Inside United about his future recently, Ferdinand said: "The best thing I can do is to look at it at Christmas, and then again in the summer, to see how I'm feeling and go from there. But hearing the manager say things like that definitely puts the spring back in your step.

"I'll have a better idea of that in December or January time, when the games start coming thick and fast. That is when it really hits you and you know the hard work really has to start. I'll probably get a better gauge of where I'm at fitness-wise and the benefit of having the summer off then."

The former England defender suffers with a persistent back problem which affects his ability to play games in quick succession, although this season he has only missed two of Manchester United’s 12 Premier League fixtures in the absence of Nemanja Vidic.

Despite talk of Ferdinand’s exit, Ferguson didn’t appear too fussed, saying last Friday: "It will sort itself out, I am sure."

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Rio Ferdinand