Nemanja Vidic

Ezequiel Garay to Manchester United, what does this mean for Nemanja Vidic?

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Having been frequently linked with a move to Old Trafford over the past year, Ezequiel Garay is reportedly close to signing terms with Manchester United. With the prospect of the 26-year-old defender’s arrival, rumours have swirled around the future of Nemanja Vidic whose aura of invincibility has been dented and his pace slowed by a serious, recurring knee injury.

Ezequiel Garay

Suggestions that Garay could replace the battle-worn fan favourite have been far from popular. Marx’s observation that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce, echoes around another defensive transfer saga from United’s recent past.

This tragedy came about in 2001 with the sale of Jaap Stam to Lazio. A worrying downturn in form, combined with an inconveniently controversial autobiography, led Sir Alex Ferguson to believe that the Dutchman had entered an irrecoverable, long-term decline. His solution was to bring in World Cup and Euro winning centre-back Laurent Blanc, nicknamed Le President for his stately presence and goal scoring record at Marseille.

Ferguson had long wished to add Blanc to the United squad, but while the Frenchman may have been one of the finest defenders of his generation, he arrived at Old Trafford more than a few years past his best. Slowed by age, Blanc stumbled into the Premier League and United’s results suffered. The president soon became known as Larry White, impeached by his bemused, English critics, as Stam continued on as a key player for Lazio, Milan and Ajax. Though Blanc’s influence on the training ground helped further the development of Wes Brown and John O’Shea, Ferguson admitted that selling his Champions League winning defender was his greatest transfer error.

With this in mind, fans are understandably suspicious of claims that the Serbian, who has come to embody the club’s self-cultivated intimidation factor, is no longer fit for purpose. After all, Garay’s speed is in his mind rather than his legs – another uncomfortable layer to the Laurent Blanc comparison that doesn’t sit well in the mind of historically aware supporters. To them, the Benfica player may as well be a glamorous yet sluggish Real Madird reject if Vidic is to be characterised as Boxer on his way to the glue factory.

However, ambitions are high in the south of France and Monaco are hovering; eager to capture Manchester United’s captain as another prestigious statement of their intent. Following his years of service at Old Trafford, it’s difficult to argue that Vidic should be denied a bumper retirement package on the French Riviera, yet selling Vidic isn’t necessary even if a sixth defender is brought into the club.

Jonny-Evans-GoalThe danger exists that the backline could wither without adequate support for Jonny Evans in a similar manner to United’s recently underpowered midfield. Like Michael Carrick, the Northern Irishman often goes unappreciated due to his less than brutal, cultured approach. In fact, last season Evans was the rock United built their defence around, with the skills of Ferdinand and Vidic paired to his game depending on the opposition. The back two became focused on retaining possession and distributing the ball with the selection of the former, while the latter retooled the backline for aerial combat and more physical challenges.

With neither veteran able to play two games a week anymore, Evans is at risk of becoming overworked and under loved like his midfield colleague. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are fantastic prospects but Anderson’s failure to realise his potential warns of the risk brought by assuming developing talent will rise to share the load. Though fitness concerns steal away Ferdinand and Vidic from duty, Jones and Smalling are also needed elsewhere in midfield and at right back respectively. United’s five man centre-back roster is more fragile than its numbers suggest too, with a spate of injuries requiring Carrick to drop back at times over the past two years.

Ezequiel Garay could well cover the mid-to-late twenties skill gap that has developed, and help shoulder the responsibility with Evans if not overshadow him in the lead role at the back. Though the styles and skills are different, the Argentine could be to the defensive ranks what Owen Hargreaves was to the midfield in 2008 – a player who looked to have been the perfect solution to the team’s spinal deficiencies. Assuming David Moyes continues Manchester United’s recent trend towards ball possession, Garay would be an excellent acquisition in the mould of Rio Ferdinand, who Evans played his best football with last season.

Having pursued Raphael Varane, Nevan Subotic, Mats Hummels and Jan Vertonghen with varying degrees of seriousness and interest, Sir Alex Ferguson was clearly aware of the need to add a sixth man to the club’s defensive line-up. Rather than let a situation develop as it did further upfield, United should invest from their position of strength; sign Garay as a luxury before he need become an act of desperation.

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13 Responses to Ezequiel Garay to Manchester United, what does this mean for Nemanja Vidic?

  1. Alan says:

    Chris Smalling is easily the best central defender at the club behind Rio and Vida. Those who don’t realize this have either not been watching closely enough or been paying too much attention to bloggers on twitter with inflated egos and limited football playing experience. Jonny Evans is a liability. He will always have the potential to make silly mistakes and not fight hard enough to keep out a goal. Smallingis excellent at bringing the ball out of defence and reading the game. He is Rio’s successor and Phil Jones can be the more athletic, all-action defender similar to Vida. Evans will make for good cover. As such I don’t believe United will sign Garay and would be surprised if this were anything more than tabloid rumours. We’re well-stocked in the CB department. The main priority is two central midfielders and to replace Rooney IF he is sold. Ando needs to be moved on once those two CMs come in.

    • Ugo_MN says:

      Smalling is only ever as good as who he is paired with. If the second CB has a good day, so does Smalling and vice versa

  2. license00 says:

    Why presume if at all this rumour is true that it would b Vidic on his way out? I will tell you what this means for Vidic! He will still be captain at the start of the season n also at the end of the season n you will hope that nobody remembers that u came out with such a presumptuous non fact based statement! Moyes ain’t even taken a training session yet and already you seem to think he wants rid of Vidic?? In fact you ate doing exactly what fergie did with staam, writing off a guy who still has so much to offer our great team, u cant judge him on last seasons performances after such a bad injury! if anything i hope its Evans who gets the boot cos lets face it how many top teams would he get in? Judge vidic when he is fit and show a bit of loyalty to our marvelous captain….wow!!!!

  3. Berbawazza says:

    Utd are well stocked in this position and I doubt that Utd would invest about 25mil on two young players like Smalling and Jones and have Evans committ to a long term contract and also resign Rio to another contract and still buy another defender from another league for 17mil. I suppose we will have to wait and see if Vida becomes injury prone but apart from last season he does not pick up injuries any more than anyone else.

  4. Ahmad Yusuf says:

    I think alan I will go with you on this issue..very much have been voiced through your comment,Chris Smalling is very Right for the position and no new recruit please,license00 you are very right too,Vidic should remain and keep his armband,he deserve so much for his loyalty and service to the club……Viva Man Utd

  5. Pingback: AC Milan ready to bid for Nemanja Vidic - RedMancunian.com

  6. Pingback: For RedMancunian: Ezequiel Garay to Manchester United, what does this mean for Nemanja Vidic? | Greg Johnson

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