Rio Ferdinand wants his successor at the heart of the Manchester United defence to be young star Raphael Varane, but does not see the transfer happening any time soon.
Manchester United and Ferdinand parted ways this summer after the centre-back's contract expired and he was asked during a Q&A session on Twitter who he believes the Old Trafford club should get in this summer to replace him.
"Varane...Real Madrid won't sell though," was his reply.
Manchester United target
Whether Ferdinand was aware of it or not is not clear, but Manchester United had tried to sign the France international in 2011 before he eventually opted to join Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. The now Chelsea boss was so impressed with the former Lens star that he threw him into the first team and Varane subsequent good form saw the end of veteran centre-back Ricardo Carvalho's career at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Fans of the Old Trafford club would be delighted if the club managed to secure the signing of such a talented defender but, as Ferdinand points out, they are unlikely to countenance any sale. Varane put injury problems behind him to reestablish himself in Carlo Ancelotti's side this season and has seen his form rewarded with a place in the France starting XI at the World Cup in Brazil.
Seeing a defender slot into the team at one of the world's biggest clubs is reminiscent of how Ferdinand made himself at home very quickly after signing for Manchester United in a £30million deal from Leeds United in 2002 - the second time he was the world's most expensive defender after his £18million move to Leeds from boyhood club West Ham United.
He spent 12 years at Manchester United and became one of the country's most decorated players during his time there under Sir Alex Ferguson. Ferdinand won the Premier League six times, the League Cup twice, an FA Cup, a Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup.
If there was any doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement would usher in a new era, then the departure from Old Trafford of Ferdinand and long time central defensive partner Nemanja Vidic on free transfers this summer. The Serbian will join up with Inter Milan in Serie A, while it was reported earlier this week that the former England captain will link up with his former manager at West Ham, Harry Redknapp, at newly promoted QPR.
Dutch boss Louis van Gaal is set to take over at Old Trafford once the Netherlands are finished at the World Cup and central defence is one of the areas he will need to address. Manchester United have already confirmed the signings of midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and left-back Luke Shaw from Southampton.
A centre-back is expected to come in at some point this summer but, unfortunately for Manchester United fans, it is unlikely to be Varane.
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