Nemanja Vidic announced his departure from Manchester United back in February. The veteran Serbian defender will leave Old Trafford in the summer for an adventure in Italy with Inter Milan.
The 32-year-old centre-back will go down in United’s history as one of their best ever players. Signed from Spartak Moscow in January 2006, Vidic has gone on to make over 200 Premier League appearances for the club.
During his eight-and-a-half-year tenure at the Manchester outfit, Vidic established himself as one of the best central defenders in the world under Sir Alex Ferguson, going on to win the league five times, the League Cup thrice and the Champions League once.
Vidic has always been a key player for United and even in a torrid 2013-14 campaign under the sacked David Moyes, he has made 22 league starts and six appearances in the Champions League.
Which is why Ferdinand fears that letting him go could come back to haunt United. The former England international centre-back himself is out of contract in the summer and his future is uncertain, but he believes that it is “a shame” that Vidic will not play for United anymore after this season.
‘Only time will tell if Man United regret allowing him to leave’, The Guardian quotes the 35-year-old as saying. ‘Obviously Jaap Stam played on for quite a few years at a good level after he left Man United and the same thing could happen with Nemanja. He's a great player and it's a shame he had to leave’.
The comparison between Vidic and Stam is interesting. When the Dutchman left in 2001 for Italian outfit Lazio, he was 29 and considered past his best. Having struggled with an Achilles injury, the defender's importance had gone down in the eyes of Ferguson, who got the club £16.5 million for the centre-back.
Stam went on to play for AC Milan and Ajax before retiring from the game, squeezing six more years out of himself. United did miss him initially, but gradually his loss was compensated. Perhaps it will be similar this time around.