Nemanja Vidic Wasn't Forced out by Manchester United, Claims Henning Berg

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2014

Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic takes the ball downfield during his team's English Premier League soccer match against Swansea City at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday Jan. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Former Manchester United defender Henning Berg believes the outgoing Nemanja Vidic could play on at Old Trafford but opted to leave the team in order to experience "something different."

Inter Milan officially confirmed the signing of Vidic on Wednesday, March 5, signalling a conclusion to the Serbian international's eight-year tenure with the Premier League champions, noted by the Italian club:

Berg told Sky Sports News Radio he believes the 32-year-old fancies a change of scenery but could have offered David Moyes' struggling side plenty of excellent performances in the future (via Colin Harvey of the Daily Star):

He's still vital to the club so I don't think it's a football decision. He's been there for a long time now, so I think it's simply down to the player wanting to do something different.

[...] He could still play on for United.

Like [Jaap] Stam, I believe he's leaving when there's more years left in him. But I don't think this is a decision made by the club, or the manager; this is purely down to Vidic wanting to do something different.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Vidic has been one of United's most important players across the last decade, winning five Premier League titles, three League Cups, five Community Shields, the Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup since joining in January 2006.

His no-nonsense style, defined by dominance in the air and an excellent ability to read threatening play before it develops, has made Vidic one of the club's most popular players in recent times. The experienced defender is a leader and conductor at the back, qualities that will be sorely missed.

Although these attributes eventually saw Vidic promoted to captain, the centre-back's Old Trafford career has continued to stutter through injuries, as noted by Sky Sports News:

Moyes now faces a daunting task when aiming to replace Vidic. The Scottish boss is rumoured to be interested in Cagliari's Davide Astori, who recently admitted he "would like to play" in the Premier League, per Daniel Jones and Jamie Sanderson of the Metro.

CAGLIARI, ITALY - MARCH 02: Davide Astori of Cagliari in action during the Serie A match between Cagliari Calcio and Udinese Calcio at Stadio Sant'Elia on March 2, 2014 in Cagliari, Italy.  (Photo by Enrico Locci/Getty Images)
Enrico Locci/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund's Mats Hummels has also been linked with the club but is expected to snub the Red Devils' advances if they miss out on next season's Champions League—a failure that is looking extremely likely—per Anthony Chapman of the Express.

Moyes is rumoured to have watched Freiburg's Matthias Ginter, a versatile defender who can also occupy a defensive midfield role, reported by Thomas Zocher of Sky Sports. With major squad changes on the horizon, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Moyes sign a handful of defensive reinforcements to cover the chasm left by Vidic.

United fans may be disappointed to witness the goodbye of a modern legend, but Vidic's departure is one further step along the transitional road for the club. Moyes needs to strip the current group considerably, build his own squad and begin making huge alterations for a successful future.

Vidic will be looked back upon with real gratitude in the coming years, but the player's decision to move on is an important advancement for the club that is still trying to overcome its post-Sir Alex Ferguson blues.