Sky Bet weigh up the odds as Man Utd look to select a new captain this summer.
By Jamie Casey - Follow: @SkyJamieCasey
Last Updated: 11/02/14 1:29pm
Manchester United's decision to go public over Nemanja Vidic's intention to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season is just another symbol of how much change has gone on at the club this term.
Would Sir Alex Ferguson have convinced the Serbian to give it one more season? Probably. Would he have kept the matter under wraps until the summer if not? Almost certainly.
As it stands, Ferguson's successor David Moyes has an array of options to choose from to replace Vidic and Sky Bet offer odds on who will get the captaincy nod, with Wayne Rooney the obvious favourite.
However, the England international may not be as straightforward a choice as the odds suggest, as the online bookmakers detail below.
Wayne Rooney - 8/15
With determination being one of Rooney's strongest traits, the England international is a natural leader, so much so that it makes him Sky Bet's odds-on favourite to succeed Vidic as the club's captain. But, then again, Rooney has threatened to quit Old Trafford twice in the past, only to change his mind, but who is to say he won't force through with a move at the third attempt this summer? United are odds-on to finish outside of the top-four while title favourites Chelsea are 7/2 to sign the 28-year-old before the next Transfer Deadline. Jose Mourinho, who chose not to add a marquee striker to his ranks in January, has made no secret of his admiration for Rooney and will surely rekindle his interest this summer if United fail to qualify for next season's Champions League. Thus, the 8/15 on Rooney should perhaps be overlooked in favour of better value.
Darren Fletcher - 5/1
Having been at the club since 1995 and a first-team player since 2002, Fletcher is one of the longest serving players on the books at United. Unfortunately, the midfielder has endured a torrid three years after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2011, missing much of the last three campaigns as a result. He would appear to be on the mend now, though, having featured regularly in the side since mid-December. Fletcher looks determined to make up for lost time and could be like a new signing for his compatriot Moyes as he bids to rescue a wretched debut season at the helm. At 5/1, Fletcher looks good value to be given the armband but it's likely to hinge on Wayne Rooney's future.
Robin van Persie - 13/2
Robin van Persie was captain of Arsenal before being sold to United, so the Dutchman does have experience of leading one of the biggest club's in the Premier League. Not only that, but he is also Holland's current captain and will bid to lead his nation to World Cup glory in Brazil this summer (25/1). However, as he only arrived at Old Trafford in the summer of 2012, van Persie is fairly unlikely to be promoted to captain when Vidic departs, but is thought to stand a greater chance than the likes of veterans Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand, whose first-team opportunities are expected to fade further by the start of next season.
Michael Carrick - 8/1
Carrick's only real experience of captaincy at the highest level is a 20 minute spell with the armband on international duty for England. Although not the most outspoken player in their ranks, Carrick can have a calming influence on United's play with his patient nature and he's an ever-present in the team these days. At 8/1, he's an outsider for the role, but after years of dividing opinions among United supporters, Carrick has seemingly played his way into the hearts of most, meaning a surprise decision to elect the midfielder as captain might actually be greeted quite warmly by the Old Trafford faithful. Indeed, he's already the most-backed contender in Sky Bet's market.
Rest of the field
Sir Alex Ferguson has tipped up Phil Jones as a future Manchester United captain on a number of occasions, but he may have to wait for his turn as a 12/1 outsider. Veterans such as Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand are not given odds in the betting market, with neither expected to be regular starters next term. Other outside options include Jonny Evans at 18/1, while Patrice Evra is a 50/1 chance given the likelihood he'll leave the club this summer. Record signing Juan Mata is not considered much of a candidate at 40/1, with his compatriot David De Gea given the same odds.