Sky Bet's Pete Hall analyses the betting market on where Nemanja Vidic's future lies...
By Pete Hall Follow @Pistolpeteh86
Last Updated: 10/01/14 3:26pm
After falling down the pecking order at Manchester United, club captain Nemanja Vidic's days at Old Trafford could well be numbered, and an exit may come sooner than most may think.
The combustible Serbian has seen the less weary legs of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones usurp him from the starting XI and, along with fellow veteran Rio Ferdinand, he has spent much of this season on the bench. Due to uncertainty as to whether or not he will sign the new deal United have tabled, Sky Bet have opened the market regarding his options this January, and can reveal the most likely destinations Vidic could viably be plying his trade come 1st February.
In every recent transfer window, Paris Saint-Germain are linked with a host of stars across the globe due to the considerable resources available to boss Laurent Blanc. With Brazilian trio Thiago Silva, Alex and Marquinhos all vying for a starting berth, a move to the French capital may not be such a wise move, and has put off many punters in the early stages of the betting. However, with Blanc's contacts with former club United still strong, and with only six months left on his current deal, Vidic could be available in a cut-price deal, putting the French champions in a strong position to secure the Serbian's services, thus making them Sky Bet's 10/1 favourites.
Boasting another manager, Rafa Benitez, with a wealth of knowledge of English football, Napoli are openly keen on bolstering their defence, and whilst also reportedly eyeing a move for Liverpool's Daniel Agger, the Serie A club have been heavily linked, with Vidic's agent having to rebuff questions of their interest. Such talk has seen Sky Bet install Napoli 12/1 as second favourites, with interest growing all the time. The Premier League seems like the market Benitez wants to delve into to bolster his ranks, with Napoli also 6/1 to secure the services of unsettled Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata.
Also added to the Sky Bet market at 12/1, Juventus are another side at which an ageing Vidic will be able to fit right in. Often deploying three centre-backs, the Old Lady like to sit deep, soak up pressure, and catch their opponents out on the counter-attack, or at set-pieces, just as they did against title rivals Roma at the weekend. Vidic's pace has diminished as he has aged, but Juventus' system, sitting so deep, could suit his new style of play. With United team-mate Nani another reported target (5/1) for the Serie A champions, do not rule out a double-swoop as Antonio Conte's men look to get over their early Champions League exit.
Another Russian billionaire-backed Ligue 1 side, Monaco could easily splash the cash on Vidic, and not even notice the transaction taking place. At 14/1 in Sky Bet's market, it is seen as somewhat of a longshot, but with the pace of football in France's top division less than the hustle and bustle of the Premier League, the 32-year-old may himself push through a move for a more comfortable final few years of his playing career. Linked with a host of English-based stars, including Tom Ince (8/1), David Luiz (10/1), Sandro (25/1) and Ashley Cole (20/1), the principality club are seemingly keen on coming to England to do their January shopping, a fact of which punters are becoming increasingly aware.
Premier League interest
Whenever a proven Premier League player becomes available there is somewhat of a clamour among the more prominent clubs, especially late into the transfer window, and if Vidic continues to be left out, he may cut his losses and force a move close to home. Sky Bet have made Manchester City, who are certainly in need of defensive reinforcements, and Chelsea both 16/1 to complete a surprise capture. Arsenal, who are another side a little thin on defensive personnel are out at 20/1, with a controversial switch to United's arch-rivals, Liverpool, a 33/1 shot. None of these options would be immensely popular at Old Trafford, but if the funds can be used elsewhere for David Moyes to strengthen, then punters may see value in such a move taking place.