Everton manager David Moyes has emerged as the favourite to replace Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United after reports emerged suggesting he is set to work as an understudy to the 71-year-old next year.

A host of bookmakers slashed the odds of Moyes becoming the next United boss amidst reports that the Scot will join the coaching staff next season so that he can learn the ropes from Ferguson and step in once he retires.

Ferguson has given no indication that he is ready to walk away from United, especially after building another young squad that delivered a 20th league title.

David Moyes
David Moyes is yet to agree a new deal with Everton and is out of contract in the summer of 2013. [Reuters]

"I don't have any plans at the moment to walk away from what I believe is going to be something special," Ferguson wrote in his programme notes before United played Chelsea on Sunday.

The Scot had indicated that he would retire at the end of the 2001/02 season but had a change of heart and has gone on to win a staggering 12 major trophies in the subsequent 11 seasons.

Replacing Ferguson would be an incredibly tough job for any manager but it seems as though Moyes is now considered the front runner as it looks increasingly likely that he will leave Everton at the end of the season.

Moyes' contract ends in the summer and he is yet to agree a new deal as Everton look to secure a sixth place finish that would see them end the campaign above Liverpool for the second successive season.

The 50-year-old has never won a trophy during his 11-year tenure with Everton but he has worked wonders on a relatively low budget as the Merseyside club consistently compete for a top-eight finish.

Should he be offered the chance to work under Ferguson - with a view to eventually taking over managerial duties - it would certainly be a difficult prospect for Moyes to turn down.

The former Preston defender has always been forced to work on a tight budget at Everton and would surely be interested in taking charge of one of the biggest clubs in world football.