Rio Ferdinand joined Manchester United from Leeds United in July 2002 for a transfer fee believed to be around £30million.

After serving United well for more than a decade, this season looks set to be a watershed in the former England player's career.

With a new regime at United all players will be looking to prove their worth to new manager David Moyes as he tries to build an impression of his own strongest starting XI. Ferdinand will be no different to anyone else in this respect.

On the May 23 this year, it was announced that Ferdinand had secured a new one-year contract that will see him stay with the club until at least the end of the 2013/2014 season.

Could this turn out to be his last contract at the club though?

Ferdinand himself is a hugely decorated player - added to his 81 England caps the Manchester United centre-half has won the Premier League six times, the Champions League, the League Cup twice, the FA Community Shield five times and the FIFA Club World Cup.

However the former Leeds player has been dogged by injury throughout his career and the effects from these injuries seem to be taking their toll on him currently.

His display in the 4-1 defeat against Manchester City at the Etihad attracted criticism and the competition for places at United is strong enough to place his position in the team under threat.

There is no doubt that, when fit, Nemanja Vidic is United's first choice centre half but who will partner him if Ferdinand is absent through injury or deemed no longer the first choice?

Jonny Evans has had very few opportunities this season - he did well against Liverpool in the Capital One Cup - but doesn’t look to be a firm favourite of David Moyes. I am not sure he could ever be a world-class defender but he is certainly an excellent squad player for United to have in reserve.  

Chris Smalling looks a likely candidate to be Vidic's partner long-term. He has impressed in his last two games, firstly against Liverpool in the League Cup, and then in the solid display at Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. To me he is in the perfect place to be the player to take over from Ferdinand and be Vidic's long-term replacement.

Phil Jones, a very capable defender, appears to be preferred in a defensive midfield role or as a make-shift right-back. He is a very versatile player but I can't help but think that he could be an exceptional centre-half if given the opportunity to develop in this position. It will not do him any good if he is perceived as a utility player during his career as I believe he is much better than that.

Will United decide to overlook all these players and choose to bolster their centre-half options in the January transfer window?

Outside of football Ferdinand is looking to branch out with work in television and charity. Whatever the future holds for Rio Ferdinand there is no doubt he has been a great servant to Manchester United.

Everyone's career will end at some point and he is one player who has given his all when in the red and white of United, of that there can be no doubt.

Do Manchester United supporters think that it is now time Moyes looked to replace Ferdinand?

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