Is this Manchester United defender deserving of a new contract?

Nemanja Vidic is reportedly set to be offered fresh terms at Old Trafford after David Moyes decided the defender will be part of his future plans.

Manchester United manager David Moyes has decided to offer Nemanja Vidic a new deal, according to a report in the Guardian.

While the Serb can now concentrate on recapturing his best form, the future appears less clear-cut for Rio Ferdinand, who will discover his fate regarding a new contract closer to the end of the season.

A central defensive pairing often lauded as one of the Premier League's best appears on the verge of an unceremonious break-up, but the real question is whether Vidic deserves such preferential treatment over a fellow United stalwart.

It perhaps speaks volumes about the former Spartak Moscow defender's decline that he has been heavily involved in the majority of United's defeats this term. Indeed, the 32-year-old only missed perhaps the worst of the lot, when United went down 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion.

But he has completed 90 minutes in each of their other defeats and no longer strikes observers as the defensive wall and Marshall that led United to a string of titles, both domestic and European.

His nadir came in the 4-1 trouncing at neighbours Manchester City, with Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo bullying a player who is far more accustomed to doing the picking on than being subjected to it.

Vidic hardly covered himself in glory, either, for his part in the goals that saw Everton and Newcastle secure their first wins at Old Trafford since 1992 and 1972 respectively.

One of the fundamental problems Moyes has faced during his problematic start to life at United is the apparent lack of middle-aged individuals, with a lop-sided blend of emerging youngsters and players in the twilight of their career.

It is important, however, that the Scot does not completely hack away at his squad and it is therefore not entirely surprising that he has chosen to keep one half of the Ferdinand-Vidic axis, and and potentially bid farewell to the other.

For Ferdinand, the news is hardly unexpected, but it leaves him at a crossroads in his career. The former England international has been involved in three of United's defeats this season and has only appeared alongside Vidic on five occasions - the opening five matches of the campaign - which yielded just two wins and two clean sheets.

Perhaps the saddest aspect to the wavering of the once-great partnership was how City dismantled them with such ease and ruthlessness at the Etihad. Ferdinand's last-chance saloon came at home to West Brom, where he was undone by the movement of Stephane Sessegnon and Saido Berahino and there has been just the solitary league appearance since, when more poor defending cost them dearly in the final seconds at Cardiff City.

Two years Ferdinand's junior, age may well have come into Moyes' thinking, but both have been dogged by injury problems in recent seasons.

Vidic would attract a host of suitors should he seek pastures new, but for the time being, it will be Ferdinand who may feel the effect of United's cut-throat approach to player retention.

image: © nasmac

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch