London: Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is likely to face 50,000 pound per week pay cut to extend his Manchester United career into his late thirties following an early-season warning that he had lost his first-choice status.
Ferdinand is expected to partner Jonny Evans at centre-half against Fulham on Monday night as United aim to open up a three-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Ferdinand was expected to leave Old Trafford this summer, with Ferguson recruiting Chris Smalling and Phil Jones as long-term replacements over the past 18 months.
Ferguson’ criticism of Ferdinand following his performance in the 6-1 defeat against City, combined with United’s concerns over recurring back problems, had raised doubts over Ferdinand’s ability to see out his Old Trafford contract, which expires in June 2013.
Ferguson’s claim that Ferdinand had “lost pace”, followed by his admission that “we’ve all faced that decisive moment in your careers when you realise you have to change your game” also hinted at the defender being phased out at United.
But United is now ready to reward the defender by opening talks for a one-year contract extension before the turn of the year.
“Rio is adapting really well to the challenge of making sure he is fit and fresh to play in the games we need him. I think it’s all down to how he feels physically within himself and what he is doing at the moment is good,” The Telegraph quoted Ferguson, as saying.
“He has no issues at all. From time to time, he gets the odd tweak in his back and we have to manage it and look after it. But it hasn’t surprised me in the sense that he’s still young for a centre-back,” he added.