The imminent return of Nemanja Vidic is another added bonus to Manchester United's already impressive campaign. The Manchester club are six points infront of their closest rivals - City, and topped their Champions League group after last years shambolic display. The return of their skipper Nemanja Vidic will have Sir Alex Ferguson beaming with joy.
The Serbian has been sidelined since September 19th following more knee surgery – but could make his return on Saturday. Ferguson is hoping Vidic can put 16 months of surgery hell behind him – as he looks to ease him back into the side against Sunderland this weekend.
Vidic was reportedly in line to return to the starting line up against Manchester City – but Ferguson later said: “It would have been crazy to play him against City – but against Sunderland. definitely.”
The return of Vidic will no doubt be crucial to United's campaign – the Serbian will shore up the leaky defence Ferguson has had to cope with so far, which has seen them concede 23 goals in 16 league games this season.
But – what does this make of Rio Ferdinand?
With his current deal set to expire at the end of this season, the Manchester United stalwart is in the twilight of his career – and this could well be his last season. Ferdinand and Vidic enjoyed a devastating partnership back in 2008, where they were no doubt one of the best centre half partnerships. Manchester United had a young, vicious and hungry Nemanja Vidic, who worked well with a Rio Ferdinand who was no doubt in his prime. Now at 34, does he have long left?
Rio made 38 appearances for United last season – as well as earning his 400th for the club this season. He appears to have left all the injury crisis behind him, and is one of the senior members of the club.
Ferguson should do everything to keep him, right?
Ferguson needs to ensure he does not treat Rio like he has Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs. The two are Manchester United legends – and rightly so. But with many people feeling they've ran there last marathon – the fans are starting to question there involvement in the match day squad.
At centre half, Ferguson has a plethora of options to choose from. Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Johnny Evans and now Nemanja Vidic are his options in the first team, as well as the youngsters he has, Scott Wootton and Michael Keane. No doubt Ferguson will offer Rio the one year rolling contract he has offered Scholes and Giggs over the years – but he should remember the up and rising talent he has at his disposal.
Rio remains a key player for the Scot. The 34 year old is seen as the 'go to man' by the youngsters in the squad – and having played for Manchester United for 10 years is an ideal figure to have a round. The former Leeds and West Ham could make a great mentor for the likes of Smalling and Evans – when they eventually pair as the future centre half partnership for Manchester United Football Club.