Rumours linking Nemanja Vidic with a move away from Manchester to somewhere hot have been circulating all season, with the defender repeatedly insistent that is going to see out his contract. The problem with that, from the club’s perspective, is he would 30-years-old then and would leave on a free. Given that we only paid £7m for him and, by the time the contract, had almost 7 years out of him, that would be pretty good business on United’s part. But pretty good business isn’t good enough for United these days. If we sold him next summer, particularly to a club like Real Madrid, we could get £10-15m for him. If we sold him this summer, we’d be looking at £20m+.
The papers are today claiming that we will cash in on Vidic sooner rather than later, with our defender set to start the 2010-2011 season playing for Jose Mourinho. But I don’t buy it.
Whilst United obviously need the money, there has to be some kind of balance with what is best for us on the pitch too, and unless Sir Alex Ferguson is going to dip in to the market, which apparently doesn’t have good value at the moment, to buy a defending superstar, we simply cannot allow Vidic to leave just yet.
Rio Ferdinand’s injuries have to be a concern for us, Wes Brown isn’t getting any younger and also suffers from injuries, John O’Shea is a player few would like to see holding down a central defending role, which really leaves Jonny Evans as the only dead cert. Evans, who has the potential to be a United captain one day, is ready to be a starting player, although probably isn’t ready to be our leading centre back. Chris Smalling is supposed to be the business but at 20-years-old and still unproven is some way from being a starting player.
Whilst it’s not likely that Vidic will see his career out with us, sadly, but he’s hardly desperate for a move away either.
“I am glad to have been part of this club for so many years and if I could be one of the bases on which a new team is built I would be very happy,” Vidic said in November 2009. “I have never said I want to go and play in another country. Other people have spoken or written about it and I am not happy with that. But I have said in the past what I think. I don’t want to keep talking about it because I can’t stop what people say. The fact is I am happy here.”
“I will repeat for the 100th time: my contract with Manchester is until the summer of 2012 and I want to stay in Old Trafford until the last day,” he said on February 18th. “Only this is true, everything else is a baseless story.”
“I have never said I’d like to move to Madrid,” he said on April 4th. “I will definitely stay here until 2012 at least – and then we have time to speak about whatever may happen in the future. I am enjoying it here and I think I’ve showed that on the pitch. For now, all I’m focused on is playing the game and doing my best.”
“I have never said anything about wanting to leave,” he said on April 7th. “The speculation has all been generated by other people. I think one reason it went on for so long was because I was injured and didn’t have many chances to speak out about the issue. But I haven’t spoken to any other clubs. United is a great club. I have had a lot of success and made a name for myself here. I appreciate all of that.”
“I can’t do anything about it,” he said of the transfer rumours on May 7th. “I have said many times I am here and I have shown on the pitch my commitment. I enjoy playing. Nothing changes, I am here.”
I’m not saying we can take what players say in the press as gospel but he hasn’t been doing the whole ‘only God knows the future’ routine. He may fancy a move away, his wife might fancy it even more, but he’s hardly chomping at the bit to get away.
But if he does get a few whispers in his ear and becomes more keen to leave, Ferguson will have to put him in his place the same way he did with Ronaldo. Vidic can be given reassurances of joining a foreign club next summer but the simple fact is we are not ready to let him leave yet, therefore he can’t leave. If he goes next summer, then so be it, with Evans and Smalling having another year in the Premiership under their belts, and any other potential replacement singled out.
You never know what will happen in the transfer market but I really would be very surprised if United let Vidic leave now.