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8 Possible Nemanja Vidic Replacements for Manchester United

Scott RomFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2014

8 Possible Nemanja Vidic Replacements for Manchester United

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    Scott Heppell

    The perfect replacement for Nemanja Vidic is hard to identify because we don't know what Manchester United's next manager will be looking for. 

    If David Moyes was in charge, maybe United fans could look forward to seeing Phil Jagielka in the squad, but it is unlikely that Louis van Gaal would be keen.

    Will the new manager want an experienced head who can help bring through the young central defenders United already have?

    Phil Jones said of Vidic in United Review last week:

    You learn off him every day in training, even if he doesn't say anything, you just watch and learn. He's been a huge influence on my career at United and has really helped me along the way. I owe him a lot and I am grateful for everything he's done.

    Or will the new manager want to bring in a younger defender, who still is relatively experienced but with years ahead of them to continue improving?

    Here are eight central defenders United could see in their back four next season.

Mats Hummels

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    Paul White

    Mats Hummels started his career playing for Bayern Munich before transferring to Borussia Dortmund in 2009.

    During his time there he has gone from strength to strength. It is worth noting that Van Gaal, a manager rumoured to be taking over at Old Trafford, was the man who sold him, much to his regret.

    At 25 years old, Hummels is certainly a player who is yet to hit his peak, which might be exactly what the new manager is looking for.

    According to WhoScored.com, Hummels averages more passes per game than any of his team-mates, which shows how comfortable he is with the ball at his feet.

    Hummels still has three years remaining on his current contract, however, meaning the German club can demand a large transfer fee.

Thomas Vermaelen

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    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Having already sold their last captain to United, Robin van Persie, who went on to win the league in his first season with the current champions, Arsenal are unlikely going to be keen to sell another one.

    Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have replaced Thomas Vermaelen in the starting line-up, but he still would be an attractive prospect for United.

    John Cross in the Mirror first linked Vermaelen to United a year ago, and the rumours have only continued since then. He is apparently open to the move, he's got Premier League experience and, at 28 years old, should be at his peak now.

Mehdi Benatia

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Mehdi Benatia has been a constant presence on Roma's defence this season, with the Italian side the second best in Serie A.

    Benatia recently confirmed that he turned down an offer from Chelsea a few years ago after not feeling ready to leave Italy, but now he's 27 years old, maybe he's matured enough.

    Last year, as reported by Coral, he said that "an important Italian team will always be my first choice unless a huge English, Spanish or German club come in for me.”

    Are the current seventh-best side in England a big enough club for him?

Davide Astori

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    Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

    In March, Davide Astori talked up the chances of him making the move to a Premier League club this season.

    "I am very attracted to the Premier League," he told Gazzetta Dello Sport, as reported in Metro. "It’s a beautiful league with many great teams. I would like to play there certainly."

    The 27-year-old is known for his ability to time a tackle and, at 6'2", would certainly be a presence in the box for United. He can also finish well from set pieces as well as take penalties. 

Loic Perrin

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    Thibault Camus

    Loic Perrin will have turned 29 by the time next season starts, which certainly puts him at the older end of the spectrum of defenders United will be looking at.

    The Saint-Etienne captain, who started his career in their ranks, has had an impressive season and played in almost every game for the fourth-best side in France.

    According to WhoScored.com, his 11 clearances per game puts him ahead of any player in Serie A, La Liga or the Bundesliga. It also ranks him more highly than Vidic, who is very impressive in the air but has 10.5 clearances per game.

Ezequiel Garay

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Ezequiel Garay was linked with a move to United last summer, but the player claimed earlier on this season that David Moyes didn't want him.

    The Daily Mail claimed that Sir Alex Ferguson had been keen on signing him and an agreement between United and Benfica was in place. However, after seeing him play, Moyes wasn't as keen to commit to the £18 million defender.

    Garay told the Mail:

    I believed I was going to join Manchester United in the summer. The deal was nearly closed but finally Benfica did not accept the offer.

    I believe the exit of Ferguson has influenced the deal. Moyes did not believe in me as much but that's not a problem.

    I am happy at Benfica and have a lot of dreams and ambitions for this season. Now I only think about the present which is Benfica but it's never possible to discard anything in the future.

    Having helped Benfica win the league this season, United might be keen to make another move for the 27-year-old.

Dante

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    Matthias Schrader

    Dante faced the disappointment of Champions League defeat last week after Bayern Munich were thrashed by Real Madrid at home in the semi-final.

    Bayern Munich's goal difference is easily the best in the league, conceding only 22 goals in 32 games this season. Only Manuel Neuer has played more games for the German champions this season than Dante.

    Ben Jefferson reported for the Express that Dante was pleased to hear his name linked with a move to Manchester United in January.

    Per Jefferson's report, Dante said: "I'm happy with the Manchester United interest, my agent is keeping me informed about it."

    However, he has since signed a new contract with Bayern Munich, meaning any offer from United would have to be a big one.

Eliaquim Mangala

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    Paulo Duarte

    At 22 years old, Eliaquim Mangala would rank amongst the young defenders at whom United will be looking with the belief that he has the capacity to become a world-class player at Old Trafford.

    Jamie Jackson reported for the Guardian that the defender was a transfer target for Manchester City as recently as January. The Blues will again be on the look out this summer, so whilst United may be interested, Mangala might not be a viable option.

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