Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson woke up this morning to hear talk of his central defender Rio Ferdinand being linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Having just come through the nightmare of a lengthy battle with Cristiano Ronaldo, before finally losing him to Real, the last thing Fergie wants is another drawn-out affair involving the rock of his defence.
Ferdinand is under contrract until 2013 but the England defender knows a move to Spain will boost his growing business career.
His portfolio includes a record label, a football agency and a digital-style magazine, and he’s about to launch a lifestyle management company, all of which could take off just like Ronaldo’s interests if he moved abroad.
Fergie finally cashed in Ronaldo big-style, and the possibility of releasing Ferdinand for another big fee, over the next one or two transfer windows, can never be ruled out.
Ferdinand is now 30 years of age and becoming injury-prone ... and Fergie has a ready-made replacement in Northern Ireland’s Jonny Evans — currently in Poland for tonight’s vital World Cup Qualifier — who has been a revelation at the heart of the defence when called upon.