What if It Is Mrs. Vidic Who Wears the Trousers?

nigel smithCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2009

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 29:  Nemanja Vidic of Manchester United shouts to his team mates during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final First Leg match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on April 29, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

What is Nemanja Vidic's home life like these days?

Is the Serbian central defender being deprived of marital comforts? Is he sleeping on the couch? Is his dinner in the dog of an evening?

The speculation arises from the Vidic camp's reaction to gossip suggesting the player might be tempted by a £30 million transfer to an elite United rival.

The story begins with a good, old-fashioned Red-top scoop.

"My wife Ana is unhappy with our lifestyle in Manchester but I am not going to change my mind as I am happy with the team and Manchester and the club's ambitions,” the Sun newspaper reported Vidic as saying earlier this month.

“I got offers from Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid and I played a very honest game - I disclosed all these offers to my boss Sir Alex.

“He reacted quickly. I was told he was raising my pay to bring it to the level where my reputation is in the Premier League and Europe.

“After Milan and Real Madrid made their offers, Barcelona came in - they wanted to pay £30m for my services, but after Sir Alex's move, I am definitely staying in Manchester until my contract expires in 2012.”

The Sun splash was a sensation, given the rumours that had circulated since the Spring of trouble chez Vidic.

In the summer tumult of record-breaking transfers, defections and dissatisfaction, here at last was a genuine Red-to-the-bone United superstar, happy to be at the club and likely to be rewarded handsomely in recognition of his emergence as one of the top 10 defenders in the world.

Then, Vidic's agent had to go and spoil everything!

"Even though Vidic has not spoken for the last three months, there have been false interviews published in the press,'' Silvano Martina told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I read that he wants to leave, that his wife is not happy at Manchester but all of these stories are false.

"He is very annoyed and saddened by these stories that give the wrong impression. "In football you never know what can happen, but I believe he will remain at Manchester United, one of the strongest clubs in the world.

"If Vidic or I should have problems with the club (United), we will talk directly to Alex Ferguson and not to the newspapers.''

So those scoundrels of the fourth estate lied. Again! They made it all up in the pub over a fortified liquid lunch, scandalising Nemanja, wife Ana and son Luka. Something must be done to stop the purveyors of this terrible calumny.

Silvano Martina might have impressed in these litigious times, if his outrage was backed by a letter from m'learned friends, inviting the Sun to print a retraction or risk the consequences.

Perhaps the agent believed that a public denial of the Sun scoop was enough. It isn't for this correspondent. What if the Sun wasn't economic with the truth, after all?

To recap, point No. 1 in the newspaper's report confirmed that Vidic's commitment to the United outweighed the unhappiness of his wife. Point number two declared that he expects United to reward his fine form with a new pay deal.

This is hardly the 21st century's newspaper equivalent of the 'War of the Worlds.' Surely, the most reptilian of sports hacks, would have taken the Vidic's wife rumour and whipped up a tsunami of speculation to deliver a cracking Sun scoop with 'legs.'

Poor, confused, oh-so-human Nemanja Vidic was plainly unsettled by his wife's failure to adapt to the Cheshire drizzle, Eccles cakes and milky tea.

As every married person knows, an unhappy spouse is a time bomb of despair, primed to explode sooner rather than later.

The story could have been spun as a young couple's very modern dilemma. Does the woman who stands by her man have a say in where his career takes them? If Vidic sides with his club, he gets it in the neck from an unhappy spouse. If he sides with his wife, all hell breaks loose in the manager's office.

Problems, problems!

Vidic's domestic pain , played out in public, would have earned him the sympathy of every married man and seen him hailed as feminist icon. The manager would have been compelled to lighten his defender's turmoil with a substantial increase to the Vidic household's purchasing power.

'Send her off shopping,' would have been the man's man advice to keep the Serb's wife in mink and the defender in Manchester.

If that didn't placate la Vidic, a transfer away would become inevitable but it would be without the rancour, jeering and slow handclaps reserved for a United liar or quitter! The centre-half and his Mr. 15 percent would cash in on the player's sky-high reputation with one last mega payday.

Silvano Martina's denial and his insistence that the story was a media fabrication was designed to reassure. Instead, Martina's intervention resolved nothing. Further clarification is necessary, especially given the agent's deliberate muddying of the water with the worst of football teases.

"In football you never know what can happen," Martina said.

Oh come on! Vidic is under contract until 2012. United don't want to sell him. Can't you be more convincing!

"I believe he will remain at Manchester United, one of the strongest clubs in the world," Martina added.

You believe it if you want to Martina but let the more sceptical of minds reserve judgement until Vidic gives up his three month media silence and kills the story stone dead.

Then, we'll all know who wears the trousers in Vidic's household.

And we'll know if a debt-ridden United could see £30 million on the table for a defender  nearly 28 years old who seems horribly exposed when up against pacy front men and look the other way?