Ferdinand takes tips from Van der Sar amid Man United sporting director talk

The former defender was deep in conversation with an old team-mate on Tuesday, as talk builds of a possible director role at Old Trafford

Rio Ferdinand appeared to be taking advice from Edwin van der Sar on Tuesday amid speculation the former defender is being lined up as Manchester United's new sporting director.

Reports have emerged in the past 24 hours that Ferdinand has spoken to United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward about taking up the soon-to-be-created role at Old Trafford.

Woodward is claimed to have been impressed by the business acumen and knowledge of the club boasted by the 40-year-old, who won 10 major honours in a glittering United playing career.

Ferdinand was seen speaking with former team-mate Van der Sar ahead of Tottenham's Champions League semi-final first leg with Ajax and retweeted a picture of the pair with the caption "dropping knowledge".

He then said on BT Sport that Ajax CEO Van der Sar had been describing his role at the Eredivisie giants.

"He's a lovely fella," said Ferdinand. "He's doing a fantastic job there. He was just telling me the ins and outs of what he actually gets up to there.

"It's very demanding but very satisfying when you're playing at a level like this at this stage in the tournament."

United have long been expected to hire a sporting director or director of football role to help to bring more cohesion to the recruitment and management of the first team and academy.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reported to be in favour of such an appointment, with the Red Devils struggling to keep pace with rivals Manchester City and Liverpool on the pitch despite their significant commercial and revenue growth in recent years.

Despite a fantastic start under the Norwegian, United have suffered an alarming drop in form over the last two months and are now in real danger of missing out on a place in next season's Champions League.

Van der Sar, former Spurs head of recruitment Paul Mitchell and Solskjaer's assistant coach Mike Phelan are among other names to be linked with the sporting director role.

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