Nemanja Vidic has confirmed he will leave Manchester United when his contract expires in the summer, bringing an end to his eight-year spell at Old Trafford and confirming the rumours that have linked the Serbian defender with a move to away from the Premier League for quite some time.
Lately, the United captain’s influence has been limited by two serious knee injuries over the last three seasons, which reduced his physical impact and forced him to sit out long spells of United’s campaigns, with Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes wary of managing the Serbian’s fitness in order to get the best of out him.
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Things haven’t gone well for United this season. Eight defeats in 24 Premier League games, 15 points adrift of league leaders Arsenal and seven points away from fourth spot, out of the FA Cup and the Capital One Cup all while playing utterly dire and pedestrian football. An absolute shambles, in other words.
With David Moyes increasingly under pressure and, according to many, increasingly out of his depth, even the feel-good factor generated by Juan Mata’s arrival evaporated within a week, with United’s season going from bad to worse after last Saturday’s defeat at Stoke.
Darren Fletcher insisted that he is lucky to be playing football again, after a chronic bowel disease looked to have ended his career, forcing the Scotland international to miss almost two seasons as he sought to overcome his condition.
Having been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2011, Fletcher underwent surgery in January 2013 but, despite receiving treatment, his return was far from a certainty and the man who had emerged as a pivotal figure for United over the 2008-09 season was restricted to a mere 20 appearances in two seasons.
A broken dream.
A broken plane.
A broken heart.
A broken team.
No words said, a silent vow.
We loved you then, we love you now.
The red flag will always fly.
For Man United will never die.
Forever remembered, the flowers of English football, the flowers of Manchester.
Amid the furore of Juan Mata’s dramatic arrival at Manchester United, the Spaniard’s predecessor in the number eight shirt exited Old Trafford without so much as an eyebrow raised. The scarcely publicised departee was eight-time Brazilian cap Anderson, who joined Fiorentina on loan for the remainder of the season. By the end of his United career, the charismatic midfielder had become a figure of fun; a flop consigned to the sparsely populated category entitled “Sir Alex Ferguson’s transfer failures”, keeping company as esteemed as Eric Djemba-Djemba, Kleberson and Liam Miller. However, Anderson’s is a less uncomplicated story.
Ryan Giggs has described Juan Mata as a potential United legend, claiming that the 25-year-old Spanish has all it takes to establish himself at United and go down as one of the Old Trafford greats, fully justifying the club-record fee United splashed out to secure his services.
Mata arrived from Chelsea for £37.1m in the January transfer window, a transfer as unexpected as it was welcomed by players and fans alike, and Giggs believes the Spanish playmaker could be mentioned in the same bracket of Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham by the time he retires.
The Manchester United Supporters Trust have confirmed that they will back the campaign aiming to introduce a teenage section at Old Trafford, following a petition that was first made public a few weeks ago, in a bid to individuate an area within Old Trafford that could be reserved for teenagers.
The petition has multiple aims, the main one being to allow under 20 to have access to cheaper tickets and to be able to pay for them on the gate, in order to share an area with their peers, rather than being scattered around the ground alongside their families.