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.

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.

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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