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Report: Rio Ferdinand, United close

Defender Rio Ferdinand is expected to agree to a new contract with Manchester United early next week, Press Association reported Friday.

Ferdinand's present deal runs out this summer, and while there have been strong indications from the player that he wishes to remain at Old Trafford, so far an extension has not been worked out.

However, negotiations are at an advanced stage and provided there are no unforeseen hitches, an official announcement is expected next week, Press Association reported.

An extension would be positive news for United, given the upheaval created by Sir Alex Ferguson's impending departure. With the exception of Ryan Giggs, Ferdinand is the longest serving member of the Red Devils squad and his presence will be crucial as David Moyes looks to ease himself into the job this summer.

Ferdinand won his sixth Premier League title this season and on Wednesday confirmed he was retiring from England duty in order to concentrate on club matters.

"I think it is something he could have done last year," Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV. "Ending his international career will definitely help him, as it did with Paul Scholes, and hopefully Manchester United will get the benefit of that."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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