It cannot be denied that long serving Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand will not be able to carry on at the highest level for much longer. 

Here's a look at three players that could be a long term replacement for the loyal United centre-back, who was one half of the greatest defensive partnerships in the world.

1.Neven Subotic

Subotic is one of the two defenders who helped Borussia Dortmund to the German title last season. He is a ball playing defender, is technically good and has great positional sense. Having played in over 200 competitive games in his career domestically and in Europe - he is a very experienced player at the age of 24. 

United fans would be happy to know that Subotic is similar to Ferdinand with regards to his style of play and would be a perfect replacement for the veteran. 

2. Mats Hummels 

Hummels is the other player who formed the defensive groundwork for Dortmund’s success. The 24-year-old is able to start attacks from the back, is a gifted tackler of the ball and is not afraid to outmuscle his opponents using his superior height and strength. 

Hummels has the pace to track back, tackle quick opponents and above all has fantastic reading of the game. Very often he has frustrated opponents by breaking up their attacks even before they start via intercepting them. 

Similar to Ferdinand, Hummels is also capable of making successful long passes from the back to start an attacking manoeuvre.

3. Ryan Shawcross 

Shawcross is an immensely talented defender. Not afraid to put his body on the line or make a tough tackle - he has the capability to turn out in an England jersey. 

With Stoke possibly facing relegation this season, United may look to bring Ryan back to where he started playing professional football at the age of 15. 

With well over 200 career appearances under his belt, the 25-year-old has experience in the top flight and will be able to blend in with the United squad easily.


As far as squad depth goes, the Red Devils do not lack for defenders in their ranks - with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones waiting to usurp a starting spot. 

These two young defenders have what it takes to cement their place in heart of the United defence. Should the manager opt to source internally, these two would make an excellent duo to choose from.


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