Sir Alex Ferguson insists he wants to keep Nemanja Vidic at Manchester United.
The Serbian's future has been the subject of intense speculation for most of this season, with Tuesday's Champions League opponents AC Milan being linked with a summer move for Vidic and, more recently, Real Madrid. Vidic's continued absence from the United line-up with a nerve problem has not done much to dampen down the rumours, with claims surfacing that Ferguson is not greatly impressed with the former Spartak Moscow man's attitude.
"Of course we want him to stay," said the Scot. "He is a great player. One of the best centre-backs in the world. Our players are the subject of speculation from time to time. You just have to deal with it."
What Ferguson is unable to do is put a date on when Vidic is likely to return.
The United boss did hint Vidic would be in his starting line-up for the defeat of Portsmouth at Old Trafford nine days ago. But he did not make that, or the trip to Aston Villa which followed.
And when the United party left Manchester for their attempt to overcome AC Milan at the San Siro for the first time this morning, Vidic was not there either.
"It is a difficult one," said Ferguson.
"He feels he needs to do a lot of training and has been training for the past 10 days but he doesn't feel ready to take part in games.
"It is something we have to be patient with and that is what we are doing at the moment."
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