There have been whispers for a few weeks that Sir Alex Ferguson was planning to retire at the end of the season, particularly once it became apparent that we were going to win the league.

Those whispers have got louder over recent days and there has been some talk of David Moyes, a manager Ferguson has often championed, being lined up to replace him. There was suggestion that Moyes would work alongside Ferguson next season before taking over at the start of the 2014/2015 season. Another, more optimistic rumour, related to Jose Mourinho.

Senior figures at the club failed to respond to repeated attempts to confirm or deny the story, which emerged following United’s player versus coaches golf day at Dunham Massey on Tuesday afternoon. Some sources have claimed that United officials have been told to prepare for interviews and major networks have cleared air time.

Three days ago the club confirmed that Ferguson will be undergoing a hip operation this summer, which was an unusual move for the club who are usually fairly secretive over the health of the manager, and claimed he may miss the start of next season whilst recovering.

“This team of champions is not going away – we are here for the long ride,” he told United Review a few days ago. “We will get better and if we apply ourselves in our normal fashion I see our 20th league title as nothing but the start of another decade of success. Whether I will be here to oversee another decade of success remains to be seen, but I certainly don’t have any plans at the moment to walk away from what I believe will be something special and worth being around to see. It’s always difficult in football to be absolutely sure of the future because the game has a habit of tripping you up. But I don’t live in a fantasy world and believe we have every reason to feel confident about the future of Manchester United.”