Within the large squad that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has at his disposal there are a core group of players who are crucial in his attempt to reclaim the Premier League title from Chelsea. He would hate to lose any of them but if the many reports being circulated prove to be correct, Ferguson may have to resign himself to the fact that key central defender Nemanja Vidic will not be at Old Trafford next season.
Ever since Vidic missed almost two months of the season with a lingering injury at the beginning of this year, there has been speculation that his days at United were numbered especially after rumours began circulating that his wife Ana was finding it difficult to settle into life in England.
Despite several strong denials that he intended to go anywhere else by the big Serbian himself, his agent Paolo Fabbri rekindled the transfer talk once again this week by claiming that his client has yet to decide whether he wants to stay with the deposed English champions.
According to Fabbri, Spain or Italy are looking like possible destinations with Real Madrid among the clubs who have been linked with a Vidic bid. Sir Alex is quite aware of the interest from the Spanish giants telling colleagues that he does not believe the 28 year old wants to stay in England.
“We are waiting for Nemanja to tell us what we he wants to do” Fabbri frankly admitted “it’s up to him. He is concentrating on the World Cup so I guess a decision on his future will not be made until after that. We have requested some time from Manchester United to think about things and Nemanja does not want to look at anything until after the World Cup. Any eventual transfer will take place only after that comittment”
Vidic is currently preparing for Serbia’s opening Group D match against Ghana and has two years remaining on his contract at Old Trafford. It’s the time when United normally opens negotiations for a new deal with players they want to retain. Wayne Rooney is in a similar position with a £150,000 a week offer on hold until he returns from South Africa.
Ferguson is now faced with a situation where he has to choose between accepting an amount which is expected to reach around £30m or take the chance of losing the defender on a free ‘Bosman’ transfer at the end of his contract in two years. Not a prospect which Sir Alex will be relishing but one in which he has very little choice.
New Madrid manager Jose Mourinho is known to have a high regard for Vidic who plays in a crucial position where he will be looking to strengthen next season. When Fabbri was asked if he had any contact with Real since Mourinho took over he simply said “I don’t know. We have not heard anything official from Real Madrid and Nemanja has requested I do not speak about particular clubs while he is at the World Cup”
Although the vast majority of fans will be wishing good luck in the World Cup to all Manchester United players in South Africa, a disappointing tournament by Vidic may not be bad news for Ferguson if it helps cool any interest from the likes of Mourinho in taking the big man away from Old Trafford.
Can Manchester United afford to lose a defender of Vidic’s quality?