It’s unfortunately all gone wrong for Nemanja Vidic in Italian football, and there are no guarantees that things will get better.
After an emotional farewell to Manchester United to join Inter Milan on a free transfer, the Serbian was expected to be the experienced rock the Nerazzurri so desperately needed.
Vidic enjoyed a brilliant pre-season with the Italian giants. Club staff were excited about his prospects in the peninsula – the notoriously sceptical media, too.
But when it came time to do the business in a competitive setting, Vidic faltered. Getting sent off on his Serie A debut was an omen of more tribulations to come.
The former United skipper struggled to adapt to Walter Mazzarri’s preferred three-man defence, himself citing the need for time to come to grips with a new tactical set-up.
But Mazzarri is now gone from San Siro, and with him, the three-man back-line. Ex-Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has taken over at the helm, introducing a 4-3-1-2 formation.
Formerly only having known Vidic as an opponent from his time in Manchester, it was expected that Mancini could restore the Serbian to his reliable self.
The Italian even went on record to back Vidic by saying the defender’s trials in Serie A are only natural, the ebb and flow of the football there far different from the Premier League.
With steady opportunities, the 33-year-old seemingly could get on track in Italy under Mancini. The problem is that Vidic hasn’t played a single minute since he took over.
Tuttosport have alleged that Mancini has ‘rejected’ the veteran defender, permanently relegating him to a bench role in favour of Andrea Ranocchia and Juan Jesus.
Ranocchia is the Nerazzurri captain while 23-year-old Juan Jesus could have a bright future ahead of him, leaving Vidic in a precarious position at Inter.
The Serbian’s agent has already shot down talk of a shock return to United, unequivocally stating that Vidic won’t be leaving Milan any time soon – no matter what the circumstances are.
But Tuttsport maintain that nothing is set in stone, with a list of potential replacements already drawn up should Vidic be unwilling to take a back seat to his younger team-mates.
From a forward-thinking standpoint, it makes the most sense for Mancini to go ahead with Ranocchia and Juan Jesus as his first choice pair, considering their greater upside and Serie A experience.
Yet still, Vidic is the highest-paid player in the Inter squad. This brings about questions on how Inter will justify his €60,000-per-week wages if he’s not playing.
It will be interesting to see how Mancini handles Vidic going forward, as with Inter in a somewhat desperate situation at the moment, anything is possible.
Eleventh place in Serie A, the Nerazzurri need positives results, and fast. Whether Mancini has already tagged Vidic as a liability is weak link is still up for debate, and only his future team selections will shed light on his thinking.