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OFFICIAL: “We’re Not Negotiating With Manchester United”

Chicago Fire have released a statement denying recent reports linking them with a move for Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

Ten years into the job of guarding Manchester United’s net in front of the stunning 75,000 capacity stadium at Old Trafford as well as all over the world against the best, most competitive football clubs in the world, Rio Ferdinand, closing in on 33 years of age, is seeing his high profile and highly successful career slowly come to an end.

Two large factors are noticeably catching up on the England international; injuries, and youngsters. In 2005-06, he was at the peak of his game, playing week-in, week-out, free from injuries and appearing over 50 times in one season. However in the past two seasons, Ferdinand has really struggled for his fitness. With only 13 Premier League appearances in the 2009-10 season, and then 19 last season, the Manchester United centre back’s niggling injuries are seeing him gradually take further steps back as the likes of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones take large strides forward.

However, just because his on-field role isn’t as prominent as it has been in the past for United, it doesn’t look like he will be going anywhere, despite very real interest from the MLS side Chicago Fire, who wish to make Ferdinand a marquee English signing. A Chicago Fire statement read:

“We have watched and admired the play of Rio Ferdinand for a number of years, and we would be thrilled to have a player of his quality join the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.”

“However, there is no substance to these current reports that the Fire is negotiating with Manchester United and the player to bring him to Chicago.”

Unfortunately, it has been the first section of the statement which has naturally been emphasised by most, rather than the second more dismissive section which marks out a move as currently rather unlikely. Ferdinand’s agent, Jamie Moralee, also stated his clients desire to stay with Manchester United, claiming United are “all he cares about.” He said:

“I understand the reasons why someone like Rio would be attractive to them. There is an appeal on and off the pitch because he could help retain the global status provided by Beckham and Henry.”

“But I must stress, these stories are nothing to do with Rio. We have never discussed anything beyond life at Manchester United because that is all he cares about.”

Meanwhile, David Beckham, former Manchester United legend and therefore former team mate of Ferdinand briefly commented on his friends future, advising Ferdinand to stay with Manchester United. The LA Galaxy midfielder said:

 “That’s the first time I’ve heard those rumours but I’m not even going to comment because he’s a Manchester United player and as a [former] Manchester United player I want him to stay there.”

Manchester United fans will love to see Ferdinand and Vidic back, fighting fit and ready for first team action sooner rather than later, because there is no doubt that even at the Englishman’s advanced age, the defence is stronger and more solidly reliable with him in it. Smalling, Evans and Jones are all making very encouraging moves to cement a first team spot in the near future, but now, the man a decade into his job, with 366 appearances of experience at protecting that United goal, is first choice. He now just needs to stay fit and in form to stay in that fortunate and competitive position.

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