Rio rumours grow in contract vacuum
Rio Ferdinand has apparently told friends there is a "big chance" of him leaving United next year as QPR and clubs in China stand by.
The veteran former England defender, 34, could be out of contract in June unless Sir Alex Ferguson offers him a new deal, but the United boss is biding his time as his scouts check out potential replacements.
United had a scout in Dortmund at the weekend to watch Germany international Matts Hummels who many believe would be the perfect solution to Ferguson's current defensive headache.
Ferdinand could yet receive an offer and commit to another year with Ferguson quoted publicly as saying he feels he could play for another couple of seasons at the top, but a new deal will be dependent on his fitness.
He managed 38 appearances in all competitions last term and has been a regular again this season, despite the back condition which has hampered him over the past few years.
Ferguson may want to keep him around the squad even if he does sign a top quality centre-back but, unlike Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, he is unlikely to accept a reduced role and is unlikely to be short of options should United let him walk away in June.
It is claimed that he could even maintain his £130,000-a-week earnings at a top Chinese club or move back to London where QPR would be an obvious move if his ex-West Ham manager Harry Redknapp were to take over from under-fire boss Mark Hughes.