Rio Ferdinand was drafted into Manchester United's defence for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against holders Bayern Munich. Picture: Jon Super

London – Three of Manchester United’s title-winning back four are likely to be victims of a David Moyes purge at Manchester United.

The champions are in crisis after losing their third game in a week at Sunderland on Tuesday night and Moyes wants to unload several unwanted and unhappy players in an attempt to turn around the club’s fortunes in the summer.

Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra could all leave with Javier Hernandez, Nani, Anderson, Alex Buttner and Anders Lindegaard likely to join them.

There is also continuing anxiety about Wayne Rooney’s refusal to sign a new contract and Robin van Persie’s lack of form under the new manager.

United are on their worst run of form since 1992 and Moyes’s bad week was compounded on Wednesday when the FA confirmed they were investigating his comments about referees after the Sunderland game.

The United manager said his side were “playing referees as well as the opposition”, an accusation that could land him a charge and fine.

The FA are also looking into how fans managed to set off several flares during the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at the Stadium of Light. – Daily Mail