Manchester United are set to offer Nemanja Vidic a new contract after the Serbian defender’s chances of quitting Old Trafford this summer were ended by Rio Ferdinand’s injury problems.
Sunday Mirror Sport revealed that Barcelona believed they were favourites to land Vidic ahead of AC Milan and Inter Milan after being made aware that the 27-year-old was looking to move away from England for personal reasons.
But his central defensive partner Ferdinand has been ruled out for a month with a torn thigh muscle – and that means Sir Alex Ferguson will not countenance losing Vidic under any circumstances.
United are now hoping that they can pacify the former Spartak Moscow defender with a £5m pay-rise under the terms of a new contract.
Vidic will be offered the chance to make a significant step up the Old Trafford money ladder with a deal that will take his current £60,000-a-week salary closer to the £100,000-a-week mark.
Vidic’s wife, Ana, is believed to be unhappy with life in Manchester.
But United are hoping that any reservations the Serbian has about his importance to the club will be ended by a new deal.
His current contract runs until 2012 – and United are willing to offer a 12-month extension so that the pay hike can be put in place.
Vidic has become a hero with the Old Trafford fans since arrival from Spartak Moscow in a £7m deal in January 2006.
But the man who was United’s player of the season last term will now have to decide whether to commit himself to the Premier League champions or look to move in January or at the end of the season.
Vidic is certain to feature in United’s Champions League campaign – making him ineligible for any other club this season.
Ferguson has made it clear, however, that Vidic will not be allowed to move before the transfer window closes on September 1 under any circumstances.
With Ferdinand and Vidic sidelined by injury, United lost 1-0 at Burnley in midweek.
Vidic returned after a two-week absence with a calf problem at Wigan to partner young Irishman Jonny Evans in central defence.