Manchester United risk losing Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand after deciding not to renew their contracts before a new manager is appointed, sources said.
The two defenders’ deals expire in the summer, as does that of interim manager Ryan Giggs, but their futures will not be resolved until United have found David Moyes’ successor, sources said.
United are aware that the delay and the uncertainty could cost them the services of Evra and Ferdinand but are comfortable with the situation.
Giggs, 40, could also decide to retire and United are conscious that the situation with all three players is out of their hands.
Centre-back Ferdinand, a 2002 signing from Leeds, said earlier this month that he wants to carry on playing next season and his preference would be to stay at United.
Left-back Evra, who joined from Monaco in 2006, has been linked with Monaco and Inter Milan and is expected to attract offers.
United are already certain to lose their other veteran defender, with captain Nemanja Vidic having agreed to join Inter in the summer and could begin next season without three-quarters of the back four who helped them win the Champions League in 2008.