It can hard at the top and especially when you’ve struggled with injuries.
Nemanja Vidic is a name most clubs would sit up and take notice of – as long as they could afford his wages, that is. A full international with European and Premier League experience, he is a player still worth considering and he is now a free agent.
The 34-year-old defender joined Inter Milan on a free transfer in July 2014, shocking Manchester United fans with his decision to leave and try somewhere new. In all, Vidic made just 28 appearances for the Nerazzurri, scoring one goal.
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His limited time in the blue and black stripes of the San Siro side is all because of injury. Hernia and back injuries meant the centre-back failed to feature for Inter this season and he is now on the lookout for a new club.
Vidic recently told Italian media: “Thanks to all the Nerazzurro family and to the Inter fans. I wish the club all the best for the future. Forza Inter!”
Last season, Inter limped to an eighth-placed finish in Serie A, with former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini taking over midway through the season. Inter have enjoyed a revival under Mancini this season, despite losing top spot to Napoli, and after a couple of draws and a defeat they sit joint third with Fiorentina with 41 points, just six points adrift of top spot. However, Vidic has not been a part of that revival.
The Serbian has been dogged by injuries in Italy, as he was in the latter stages of his United career, but he is not thought to be considering retirement. A number of MLS teams have reportedly been in touch and a couple of clubs in the Premier League have taken notice following the announcement that he was leaving Inter.
Vidic won five Premier League titles with United, as well as three League Cups and the Champions League in 2008. He retired from international football in 2011 after making 56 appearances for his country.
According to Russian newspaper Izvestia, Vidic has sent out a plea to his former employers to sign him up next month. Vidic played for Red Star before joining Spartak Moscow and it’s the Moscow club Vidic has made his plea to. Spartak are expected to be active in the market as they aim to reduce the seven-point gap between themselves and league leaders CSKA Moscow.
But it is understood the Russian giants have reservations over Vidic’s fitness and would only consider offering him a deal if he was prepared to accept a significant pay cut. Vidic spent two years at Spartak before signing for United in 2006.
One of Manchester United’s problems this year is a defence, which is as solid as custard and in no way looks like the United defences of old. The days of Bruce and Pallister, rock solid at the back, and Ferdinand and Vidic are over, as Smalling and occasionally Blind play together, but resemble the Chuckle Brothers at times.
Vidic came to United 10 years ago and became a lion in defence and a leader under Ferguson. Manchester United don’t have that type of player any longer – no one aggressive or as quick as Vidic was, and even the news that Vidic is available won’t alert the Old Trafford club.
To consider Vidic back in the red shirt is romantic at best, but will not work – not with the injuries he has had and it would be wrong to go back to a club where you are highly thought of, only to cough and splutter your way out of their belief in you.
United have their injury problems with Shaw out, Rojo recovering and Phil Jones’ career blighted by one injury after another, but Vidic isn’t the answer.
Teams that need that extra defensive cover until the summer might take a chance on him. Although nothing has been said, any of the bottom four or five could use his experience as they fight to stay in the division.
Long term, it would appear that time, age and injury have taken their toll on Vidic, but as a short term fix, it is entirely possible for someone.