Manchester United have been linked with a surprise move to bring former defender Nemanja Vidic back to Old Trafford.
The Serbian centre-back left United at the end of last season, signing for Italian side Inter Milan on a free transfer, but things have not gone well for the 33-year-old thus far and there are growing rumours that he could be set for a swift exit.
It is no surprise United have been linked with the player given their own defensive issues.
While Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett have been promoted to the first-team under Louis van Gaal, neither Vidic nor Rio Ferdinand has been suitably replaced and the club needs more experience in their back-line.
But re-signing Vidic in a permanent deal would make little sense at this time, given that he will be 34 shortly after the new season kicks off and United are unlikely to match his current Inter contract, which ties him down until 2017.
United’s best option remains signing a younger quality defender such as Mats Hummels who can become an integral part of the club’s next generation. In short, Vidic would be a short-term fix for a long-term solution.
But there is an alternative that could suit all parties.
United could attempt to bring Vidic back to Old Trafford on loan for the second half of this season, allowing him to rediscover his form before having a second attempt at making it in Italy.
United are unlikely to sign a world-class defender on a permanent deal midway through a campaign, but they are in desperate need of one and taking Vidic off Inter’s hands for the next few months could be perfect.
It would allow Vidic to get back to what he does best in a league he knows well, give United that much-needed addition and allow the player to step out of the growing spot-light in Italy with Inter having enough strength in depth to cover his absence.
Stranger things have happened in football, but we will wait to see how this one pans out.