Is Mangala the man to replace Vidic at Manchester United?

Eliaquim Mangala

Manchester United have been linked in recent weeks with FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala.

The English champions will be requiring the services of a centre back this summer following captain Nemanja Vidic's statement that he will leave Old Trafford at the end of the season when his contract expires.

Meanwhile, Manchester United reportedly sent scouts to watch Eliaquim Mangala play for Porto against Gil Vincente last Sunday with Manchester City and Chelsea also rumoured to be tracking the Frenchman's potential availability this summer.

The 23-year-old arrived in Portugal in 2011 from Standard Liege in Belgium and has since made over 50 appearances for Porto winning two Primeira Liga titles and gaining Champions League experience but is he capable of replacing the current Manchester United skipper at Old Trafford?

32-year-old Vidic arrived in England back in 2006 from Spartak Moscow at the age of 24. The Serbia international had been applying his trade in Russia for six years and had been a senior international for four years prior to his move.

When he arrived to join Sir Alex Ferguson's Red Devils, Roy Keane was captain with Gary Neville as vice-captain in a first-choice back four including Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra who is now Vidic's vice captain and is widely expected to leave at the end of this term as well, all playing in front of goalkeeper Edwin van der S\r. A young Gerard Piqué had also been within the Red Devils' defensive ranks that term.

United had Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy and legends Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs still playing in their prime and Vidic came into a squad full of stars.

Should Mangala find himself on new boss David Moyes' shopping list this summer, we would likely arrive to find a number of stars still at their best in Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Michael Carrick, with club record signing in January Juan Mata and youngster Adnan Januzaj but the Porto defender is a far cry from the captain material of Keane or Vidic just yet.

What does bode well for the centre back, however, is that he has won titles in both Belgium and Portugal but I would expect a move to the Premier League would likely require a period of adjustment and adaptation.

He is nearly the same age as Vidic was when he arrived and he certainly has a similar capability as a dominant and aggressive defender but it remains to be seen whether he can inspire, command and drive a team of Manchester United's reputation and standards to success in the way they have been marshalled at the back by Nemanja Vidic.

image: © Clément Bucco-Lechat

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