Nemanja Vidić, a confirmed exit and what it means for Manchester United

With his contract running down and expiring this summer, Nemanja Vidić has confirmed that he will leave Manchester United at the end of the season.

The Serbian defender has been a mainstay in the Old Trafford side for eight years, winning 15 trophies along the way.

Vidić has proven himself as one of the most able and uncompromising central defenders that English football has seen in the last decade, and his departure will be the cause of sadness for the club’s fans.

But, what does it mean for United?

The truth is that it is probably the right moment for the talismanic skipper to call time on his time in Manchester. The club has been going through a well-documented transitional period since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, and this will involve significant change in the playing personnel also.

Nemanja VidićUnder the legendary Scot, a central defensive pairing of Vidić and Rio Ferdinand was the core to which the team was based around. However, the sad truth is that both are getting older and with the future in mind new incumbents are needed.

There is no doubt that if Vidić had been handed a 12-month contract extension in Manchester he has all the attributes to continue holding down a spot in the United first team.

However, with David Moyes eager to make his own mark on the squad, it needs to be out with the old and in with the new – with Ferdinand more than likely set to leave in the summer also.

United have a number of options at centre-half already, with Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones able to slot in. Although all three have comprehensive Premier League experience and are international players, at the moment none have the presence and stature of a Vidić or Ferdinand in their pomp.

As such Moyes will need to add centre-half to the long list of positions that he needs reinforcements, with the Old Trafford side looking likely to be very busy in the transfer market this summer.

Plenty of central defenders have been linked with a switch to Manchester over the last year, and it would seem that a big-money addition is in the offing to compensate for the loss of the club’s captain.

Although Vidić’s departure will rob United of a top-drawer central defender, it will also remove a leader from a side that is in dire need of direction. Just whom Moyes opts to select as his captain next season will be captivating viewing in itself.

United have struggled this season in the face of other teams strengthening over the summer, and it will need some strong character and resolve at the Old Trafford club to get them back into contention.

Vidić will move back to the continent, with a switch to Italy seemingly the preferred option. Filling his boots will be one of the main tasks for Moyes ahead of what will be a definitive campaign for manager and club in 2014-15.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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