Rio Ferdinand is planning to move his girlfriend Katie Wright into his home permanently.

The former professional Manchester United soccer player only started dating the 26-year-old reality TV star earlier this year but it looks like things are getting serious between them as she's keen to move her belongings into his mansion once the lease on her flat is up.

A source told The Sun Online: ''She's all but moved in already - Kate and Rio are inseparable. It's the next natural step for them - after spending so much time together in Dubai, it seems ridiculous that she'd move back to her flat in Essex.

''She already spends a lot of time at Rio's and keeps a lot of her stuff there too. It's only a matter of time until they make it official.''

And it seems like his children Lorenz, 11, Tate, nine, and Tia, six, have no problem with Katie moving in to their home as the 38-year-old sports pundit recently said their romance wouldn't have got off the ground if his kids didn't like her.

He said: ''I'm in a relationship and it's going well. My kids deserve to be happy. They have to be part of that conversation [about my relationships] ... There has not been any stage in this relationship they have not been part of. From the introducing ... I will always make sure they are part of any conversation that can be affect their lives.''

This is Rio's first relationship since his wife Rebecca Ellis - who he was married to from 2009 until 2015 - tragically died two years ago following a short battle with breast cancer.

And he has admitted his tragic loss has encouraged him to be more emotional because he wants his children to know that it's perfectly normal to mourn their mother.

He explained: ''I never saw affection and love [growing up] ... [As a footballer] if you saw any guys showing emotion that might mean they're not good enough ... [I worry about not saying I love you enough] ... They are the things that will keep you up at night and stick around... Now I am not making the same mistake with my kids, my kids, the people I love know exactly how I feel about them.''

Rio also lost his mother Janice St. Fort this year following a long battle with cancer.