By Francis Johnson
Most Premier League sides are currently looking to add quality to their squads ahead of 2012-13 commencing, none more so than Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men will still be hurting after relinquishing their title in last-gasp fashion to cross-town rivals Manchester City, with the Red Devils eager to come back stronger next term. Despite the summer additions of Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell to date, the biggest boost for United will be the return to fitness of captain Nemanja Vidic.
Any team on the planet is going to miss their captain if he is unavailable for a prolonged period of time, and the Old Trafford outfit had to do without the Serbian powerhouse from December through to the end of last season. Despite Rio Ferdinand’s experience and the ever-increasing promise of Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, Vidic’s return will be a massive boost to the side.
The commanding centre-back has proven himself among the most accomplished defenders in the division, the Red Devils are visibly more assured and solid with Vidic playing. The nature of their dip in form was uncharacteristic of a team that usually gets stronger as the season goes on and has a reputation for nerves of steel at the business end of a campaign.
The absence of Vidic surely impacted upon Man United’s results and collective confidence. Plus with another senior campaigner absent for the bulk of 2011-12 in the form of Darren Fletcher, United were short of leaders on the pitch throughout the season.
With the league eventually decided on goal difference, surely United would have retained their crown if Vidic has stayed fit and healthy. One would assume that City would have not been as commanding a force as they were without their captain Vincent Kompany for the bulk of the season, and the Old Trafford faithful will enjoy seeing Vidic back in action.
Although there is no accounting for injuries, Vidic’s presence in the United ranks for the start of 2012-13 should give them a boost ahead of the campaign and solidify their rear guard.
About the Author
Francis Johnston is a freelance football journalist with a degree in Sports Media and a love for the beautiful game. A life-long Manchester United fan, Francis is an expert on British and European football and has a soft spot for Argentine giants Boca Juniors. Francis is retained by acclaimed football blog as their lead columnist and also writes for a number of leading media outlets.