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MLS stint most likely for Man United’s departing stalwart

| 13.05.2014

12 years after becoming the most expensive defender in the Premier League, Rio Ferdinand is calling time on his Manchester United career.

Retirement isn’t an option for the six-time Premier League champion though and he’s keen to continue in the Premier League should he receive an offer that suits.

However, with (mildly) younger alternatives like John Terry, Johnny Heitinga and Joleon Lescott potentially available on a free this season, an offer to continue marshalling defences in England’s top-flight doesn’t look likely to come for the former England skipper.

Perhaps a drop down into the Championship, as a player-coach, may appeal. The 35-year-old’s former mentor Harry Redknapp, who gave him his debut at West Ham, will surely be keen to start the wheels in motion for the next stage of Ferdinand’s career.

Should QPR, where Redknapp currently works, win the play-off final against Derby at 1/1 then Ferdinand could get the Premier League job he craves, however, a move abroad seems more plausible.

Like many Premier League 30-somethings before him, the centre-back will have no shortage of offers from America’s Major League Soccer and a trip across the Atlantic would surely suit the Peckham-born’s entrepreneurial instincts.

MLS favourites Seattle Sounders, who are 8/13 to beat the San Jose Earthquakes next time out, have Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey among their three designated players (which puts their wages outside the salary cap), while LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls have never been shy in recruiting international stars.

Outside of America, Australia’s A-League has developed a recent hankering for global stars, with the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and William Gallas joining the somewhat less renowned Emile Heskey Down Under.

Didier Drogba’s brief stint in China with Nicolas Anelka means an Asian move can’t be ruled out either, especially with Manchester United’s phenomenal popularity on the continent giving Ferdinand a chance to earn some heavy heyday cash.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.