This week we saw Nemanja Vidic make an announcement that was, in all honesty, expected for some time among the clubs fans.
“I'm not considering staying in England as the only club I ever wanted to play for here is Manchester United. I never could have imagined winning 15 trophies. However I have decided I will move on at the end of this season."
The club captain is out of contract at the end of the season - and it will bring down the curtain on one of Manchester United’s finest ever central defensive performers.
But for some the move is not backed.
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has been talking about the decision in his Daily Mail column today - and believes Vidic owes it to the club to stay and fight on until he can do no more,
In fact Keown, already universally unpopular with Manchester United fans for the Ruud van Nistelrooy incident of 2003, had harsh words for Vidic:
“When I was at Arsenal, I clung on with my fingernails, staying until I really had nothing left to offer at 37 years old.
So why is Vidic running away? He has been a fantastic player for them — one of the best defenders in Premier League history — but he is turning his back on them, the club that took the captaincy off his centre back partner, Rio Ferdinand and gave it to him.
That was a huge show of faith so it is a shame he is not willing to battle on. He should be fighting to the bitter end.”
And I could not disagree with Keown more.
Vidic is 32-years-old, so he is right when he also says he is not an ‘old’ player. But given the number of serious knee and back injuries Vidic has had - he probably feels ten years older than that.
He has given his body for Manchester United, and it is clear from some of his recent performances that he simply has pushed himself too far - and is now more of a detriment to the United cause than a positive.
He has earned the right to decide his exit point - and for United it should be seen as a good thing.
They now have a chance to either blood the current crop correctly, or bring in somebody new to take his place.
It is a changing of the guard at Manchester United, and as for Keown clinging on until he was 37 - there are probably many Arsenal fans out there who wish he hadn’t of bothered.
Vidic has done the right thing - to quote Batman…
“You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
Vidic has chosen the former.
image: © apasciuto