Rio Ferdinand’s proposed move to Manchester United could well spark a flurry of big-name transfer activity.

In fact, even a decision by Ferdinand to stay at Elland Road, could prompt a transfer merry-go-round among some of the world’s top defenders.

Though Ferdinand is top of Sir Alex Ferguson’s summer wish-list the United boss is also keeping tabs on Alessandro Nesta. The Italy defender has constantly been linked with a move to Old Trafford, but until recently a move to Internazionale looked more likely.

However, last week talks broke down over Inter’s reluctance to offer their star midfielder Cristiano Zanetti as part of player-plus-cash deal.

Should Ferguson land Nesta it could then force Inter boss Hector Cuper to renew his interest in Nesta’s Italy team-mate, Fabio Cannavaro. The 28-year-old Parma defender has been linked to a number of Serie As top sides, though many have baulked at his 25 million euro price-tag.

Last week Juventus pulled out of talks in light of their failure to sell Lilian Thuram – incidentally a one-time target for Manchester United – to Milan.

Once Nesta has packed his bags for something in the region of œ25 million, Lazio would in turn hope to finalise a deal for Mexico sweeper Rafael Marquez. Marquez, one of the oustanding defenders of the World Cup, was this week rumoured to have flown in from Monaco to discuss a possible move.

It appears, then, that Ferguson may not be the only manager awaiting news of Ferdinand’s decision.