Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is not ruling out a return to the club in a director of football capacity but wants assurances before committing to the role.
The 40-year-old spent 12 years of his playing career at Old Trafford, winning 14 trophies in total including six Premier League titles and the Champions League.
He has been identified as one of the frontrunners to become United’s first technical director, having already sat down with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for an initial discussion.
The Red Devils are hoping to have the position filled before the start of the 2019-20 campaign, but Ferdinand has reservations over taking the job.
Although the one-time England international is interested in a return to United, he is unsure over the exact details of the role in question.
“It all depends on the shape of the job,” Ferdinand told the Telegraph. “I don’t think it’s all been outlined at Man United in terms of ‘that’s the job and this is the description’. I think there’s a lot to talk about within that.
“To be fair to Man United, in that kind of role, the responsibility that comes with that, you can’t lie and say that that’s not a turn-on.
“Because you are helping to shape the fortunes of a club of that stature. That’s a huge job.
“All the boxes would have to be ticked that you’ve got in your head before considering something like that.
“I think decisions made at a football club – not all (but) some of them – should come with a football thought process in the background somewhere, (someone) that understands that side of it and can make that kind of decision.”
Despite maintaining their commercial success, United have struggled on the pitch since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, with four managers drafted in to fill his sizeable shoes.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the latest to take up the mantle, but he was only able to guide the team to a sixth-place Premier League finish last season, after earning a permanent contract in March.
Ferdinand feels his old club need to rediscover their identity in order to start moving forward again, referencing Liverpool and Manchester City’s blueprint for success as an example to follow.
“Man United are looking for their ideology still,” he said.
“They went away from it after Sir Alex Ferguson, they tried to take it on under different managers and it didn’t work, so they are still searching.
“There needs to be some sort of story at a football club for the stars and the staff to believe in.
“Liverpool have got that, Jurgen Klopp has created that. Man City have got that – Pep (Guardiola) has created that. But they have been allowed to create it. They have had time.
“Do I think Man United can do that? I think time will tell – Ole has a window to work in and then he has to put that jigsaw in place.
“It is a big gap between Man City, Liverpool and Spurs. They will build again, they will recruit again.”