Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has confirmed that he will leave the club in the summer after eight glittering years at Old Trafford.
The Serbian defender, 32, is expected to be joined out of the exit door by the likes of Patrice Evra as David Moyes looks to rebuild his side after a turbulent season.
It will mark an end to the Vidic-RioFerdinand partnership that, for so long, has been a foundation for the team’s success, both domestically and on the European front.
Vidic has won 15 trophies during his time at Old Trafford, with the highlight the fantastic night in Moscow where United beat Chelsea to win the 2008 Champions League.
He also won five Premier League titles, captaining United to successes in 2011 and 2013 after being given the armband in 2010.
He was a man for the big occasion, a must-pick. On his day, he was the best in the world.
But now Moyes will look for a new gladiator, one fitter, younger and capable of playing regularly, something his current captain has struggled to do in recent years.
The jury is still out on current defenders Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, whilst Phil Jones’ versatility has prevented him from playing regularly at the back in his natural position.
Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay has been a long-term target for United and is a player Moyes could presumably revisit when the transfer window opens on July 1.
Mats Hummels was linked with Manchester United a few months ago and Dante of Bayern Munich has also been linked with the Old Trafford outfit , but could prove difficult to persuade – especially if United fail to secure Champions League football for next year.
Jones is a born centre-back made in the mould of Duncan Edwards and should thrive in his natural position once the midfield is bolstered by several new signings in the summer.
For Moyes, Vidic leaving is yet another setback.
The search for a new Gladiator starts now.
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