Louis van Gaal has been handed a surprise boost in his bid to sign a central defender in Januaey, with Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic reportedly unhappy at Inter Milan and ready to consider a shock return to Old Trafford.
Vidic has not figured for Inter since the beginning of November, and is understood to be getting increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunities he is being given by former Manchester City boss, Roberto Mancini.
United's defensive problems have been glaringly obvious during the first half of the season, with Van Gaal having fielded 18 different defensive combinations already. The Daily Star believe those two factors thrown together could bring Vidic back to the Theatre of Dreams, just six months after his disappointing exit.
SHORT TERM SOLUTION
Whilst it became obvious last season that Vidic is getting on and he will not be able to play at the top level for years to come, Van Gaal's inexperienced defensive unit could certainly benefit from having him back at the club he spent nine years with.
Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo have all shown signs of ability, as have the even younger players like Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair - however, the lack of experience within the back line has been clear.
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OTHER DEFENSIVE TARGETS
Vidic could not only slot back into the side for at least the remainder of this season, he could possibly play for another couple, whilst having a huge impact on the progression of many of the other talented young defenders that are part of the club's youth system.
There are not many big central defensive names that United and Van Gaal have not been linked with since the Dutchman took over in the summer, but who would best fit the role for the long term?
Mats Hummels is an obvious replacement, who has perhaps been the player most linked with United during the last few months. The Dortmund defender is just entering the prime of his career and is worth breaking the bank for - probably United's number one target.
Raphael Varane recently admitted that he was ever so close to joining the Red Devils when his dream move to Real Madrid became available. The youngster has not cemented down a regular position in the Madrid side yet, and United could still land the youngster with a big bid.
Ron Vlaar, Gerard Pique and Aymeric Laporte are three more names that have been linked with the club recently.
Old Trafford legacy remains intact
The Serb played 211 Premier League games for United, scoring 15 goals. He was named club captain at the start of the 2010-11 season, which he remained until leaving for Italy at the end of last season.
Whilst at Old Trafford, the former Spartak Moscow defender was twice named Premier League Player of the Season, and he also helped the Red Devils set a record of 14 consecutive clean sheets during the 2008-09 campaign.
He won five Premier League titles, the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA World Club Cup and three League Cup medals whilst in Manchester.
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