Rio Ferdinand on Manchester United sporting director shortlist

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward wants to finalise an appointment before the start of next season

Rio Ferdinand during the Emirates FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on May 27, 2017 in London, England.
Image: Rio Ferdinand is among several candidates Manchester United have spoken to as they search for a sporting director

Rio Ferdinand is one of several candidates Manchester United have spoken to about becoming their first sporting director, Sky Sports News understands.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has discussed the position with Ferdinand, and wants to finalise an appointment before the start of next season.

<<enter caption here>> at Old Trafford on May 12, 2013 in Manchester, England.
Image: Ferdinand won 14 trophies during a 12-year spell as a player with United

United want a candidate who understands how the club works, which makes Ferdinand, who spent 12 years as a player at Old Trafford, an attractive candidate.

The person who fills the newly-created sporting director role is expected to focus on the transfer market, the academy and supporting the management team.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was appointed as United's permanent manager last month, is willing to work with a sporting director and has been involved in discussions regarding the recruitment.

In contrast, Solskjaer's predecessor Jose Mourinho was against such an appointment.

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During his time as a player with United, Ferdinand made 455 appearances for the club, winning six Premier League titles, the Champions League and two League Cups.

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Since retiring four years ago, the 40-year-old has predominantly worked as a television pundit, and also briefly had plans to launch a boxing career.

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As well as speaking to Ferdinand, SSN also understands United are keen on RB Leipzig's head of recruitment Paul Mitchell, who previously worked for Southampton and Tottenham.

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