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Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand 'wanted as pundit for BT Sport'

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BT Sport is reportedly targeting England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand to front their punditry team.

According to Charles Sales at the Daily Mail, Ferdinand is wanted because he would be a marquee football name to launch the channel's sports coverage this summer.

Rio Ferdinand - The Manchester United star celebrates his 33rd birthday today.

© Ian Nicholson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

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Ferdinand is still currently one of Manchester United's first-choice players when fit, but his current contract ends this season and broadcasters are apparently interested in signing him up if he chooses to retire from the game.

Veteran striker James Beattie is another footballer apparently close to signing a deal with BT.

BT Sport launches this summer and has spent a large amount of money on live football rights to compete with Sky.

It has a three-season deal for 38 Premier League game rights, including 18 'First Picks', and a four-year deal with Aviva Premiership Rugby.

BT has poached BBC presenter Jake Humphrey to lead its football coverage and has signed up Clare Balding for her own sport chat show.

The channels will launch in the summer ahead of the start of the new football season in August 2013. Alongside BT Vision, BT Sport is also expected to be available on Sky and Virgin Media.

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