Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will have hip surgery this summer that could see him miss the start of next season.

The English champions confirmed widespread reports in the British media on Saturday that Ferguson is booked in for an operation that will not interfere with the club's three-week preseason tour of Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong ending July 30.

United didn't give more detail about the type of surgery the 71-year-old Ferguson will undergo or speculate whether he will be able to take his place in the dugout in time for the season-opening Community Shield against either Manchester City or Wigan on Aug. 11.

United will play the first game of its title defence the following weekend.

Ferguson has spent 26 seasons in charge of United.