One of Sir Alex Ferguson's greatest qualities was his intuitive knack of knowing the right moment to sell a big-name player.

At times his decision-making was perceived as ruthless, but the former Manchester United manager knew exactly when any of his senior players were declining, even if others couldn't see it - and they were moved on for the good of the team.

Had he still been in charge now, it's likely that the Red Devils' current captain Nemanja Vidic would be playing his final season as a Manchester United player.

As it happens, the former Serbia international still might be. Vidic has, as far we as know, not been offered a contract extension on his current deal, which expires next summer.

And reports in Italy today suggest that Serie A champions Juventus are keen to take him to Turin once the 2013/14 campaign draws to a close.

For the good of all parties, it could be the best possible solution.

Vidic is not the rock-solid central defender he once was, as has been made abundantly clear in United's previous two matches against Shakhtar Donetsk and Sunderland.

However, this is not surprising given his advancing years and the fact he has suffered a couple of career-threatening knee injuries in recent seasons. In many ways it's remarkable that the 31-year-old is still as good as he is.

But with the likes of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all waiting in the wings to succeed Vidic - three potentially exceptional centre-backs - Manchester United are not exactly in short supply of quality central defenders and David Moyes can subsequently now afford to lose Vidic.

Rather than face the ignominy of losing his place in United's starting line-up - and the captain's armband - Vidic should jump at the chance to wear the famous black and white of Juventus, where he can pass on his invaluable experience and play more matches each season in a slower-tempo league, if the opportunity arises.

Vidic has been a tremendous servant to the Red Devils and a fantastic captain - but there's little room for sentiment in football when it comes to lucrative contracts and allowing talented young players to flourish in place of declining custodians.

Moyes will build his first Manchester United squad over the course of the next 12-18 months - and, sadly, it will have no place for the once-excellent Vidic.

Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Nemanja Vidic