Cartoon of the Day: Vidic set for Russia exile as Fergie eyes the money

With Rio Ferdinand’s shelf-life waning at 33 years of age, the last player Manchester United fans expected to see leave the club may well have been Nemanja Vidic.

The Serbia international is 30-years-old himself, however, and Goal.com exclusively revealed that the Red Devils could consider cashing in on a considerable offer from interested Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.

The money spent by Zenit St. Petersburg on Hulk and Axel Witsel perhaps caught the eye of Ferguson, who could yet send Vidic the same way.

Vidic set for Russia exile as Fergie eyes the money

Lewandowski snubs Manchester United

Robert Lewandowski has dismissed rumours linking him with a move away from Borussia Dortmund, insisting he is happy at the Bundesliga champions despite reported interest from Manchester United.

The prolific striker, 24, was named Bundesliga player of the season last campaign after leading his side to their first league and cup double. Lewandowski’s terrific form has seen him earn many admirers, namely Sir Alex Ferguson who watched the Polish striker in Dortmund’s recent Champions League fixture against Manchester City.

But speaking to the Daily Mirror Lewandowski admitted: “I didn’t even know Sir Alex Ferguson was in the stands against City but it wouldn’t influence me at all. I haven’t got plans to change clubs.”

His comments might put to bed the rumours linking him with Manchester United and Chelsea but the Polish striker says has a lot of admiration for English football.

He added: “I haven’t had the chance to play in England but, maybe, one day. What I like about British football is that it is fast and hard. For sure it would be interesting but there’s no straight answer for the moment.”

For now, Lewandowski is putting club football aside and focusing on Poland’s upcoming World Cup qualifier against England and has warned the Three Lions that he wants all three points.

“England will be very important for us and we need to show that we have a strong chance to qualify by winning the game. It could be decisive for us.

“If we can take seven points from our first three games by beating England then it will have been a sensational start for us.

“The match against San Marino showed us nothing. It will not have any influence. It was a simple training session and we will give them more problems in Warsaw.”

“Our target is to qualify for the next World Cup. That means a draw against England at home isn’t the result we need so we will be going for the three points. That would be a huge result for us.”

Manchester United consider shock Vidic sale amid Anzhi interest

EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Manchester United are considering cashing in on Nemanja Vidic amid interest from big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala, Goal.com understands.

The Old Trafford giants are steeling themselves for a £33 million bid from the Russian club, and United are open to allowing the 30-year-old to leave with doubts increasing over the Serbia defender’s longevity and durability, following a second serious knee injury in less than 12 months.

Anzhi, meanwhile, who last year made Samuel Eto’o the highest paid footballer in the world when they bought the Cameroon star from Inter Milan, are said to be preparing an eye-popping £200,000-a-week salary in order to tempt Vidic back to Russia, where he spent two years with Spartak Moscow.

A cornerstone of United’s success since he joined the club for £7million in 2006, Vidic missed the majority of his side’s trophyless campaign last season after he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury during the Champions League defeat against Basel 11 months ago.

Vidic returned to the side at the start of the current season but struggled to find his best form, before he damaged the same knee in the build-up to his side’s victory over Liverpool in September and underwent surgery that could force him out of action until January.

Sir Alex Ferguson has already planned for the future by recruiting Phil Jones from Blackburn and Chris Smalling from Fulham over the last 18 months, while last season he hailed Jonny Evan’s as one of the Premier League’s best defenders.

With United so well stocked in that area, the club would find it difficult to turn down the sort of extravagant bid Anzhi are rumoured to be in the process of making, although last week Vidic’s agent ruled out a potential move away from Old Trafford amid reported interest from Juventus.

“Vidic is not playing at this time because he’s had surgery, so he’s only thinking about his recovery and not about the transfer market,” Silvano Martina told itasportpress.it.

“Juventus are complete with their non-EU players for this season and it is highly unlikely they will make a bid for Vidic, therefore I can categorically rule out any interest from them.

“Vidic is already part of a top club and there are no negotiations with Juventus or Barcelona.”

While Vidic is not expected to return until December at the earliest, United are likely to welcome back Smalling for next Saturday’s Premier League clash against Stoke and Ferguson could be further boosted by the return of Jones for the crunch meeting with Chelsea a week later.

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Granqvist 'flattered' by Liverpool interest

Genoa defender Andreas Granqvist has admitted he is “flattered” by the rumoured interest of Liverpool, but is happy in Italy.

The 27-year-old is no stranger to the Premier League having signed for Wigan in 2007 under then-boss Steve Bruce, though his stay was brief and unsuccessful.

After leaving the Latics, the defender impressed during his time at Dutch club Groningen before earning a move to Serie A last year.

Now Granqvist has said the prospect of moving to the Merseyside club is one that appeals to him because of its tradition and success.

“I’m happy and I love Genoa, but of course I’m flattered by the interest of the Reds,” Granqvist told Swedish publication Sportbladet.

“It’s a historic and successful club.”

The burly centre-back remained coy on the rumours linking him with a move to Anfield however, insisting he is focused solely on the national team and happy in Italy.

“It has gone very well for me and I have got much positive feedback in Italy,” Granqvist continued.

“I honestly don’t know much. I’m focused solely on the qualifying matches with the national team. We’ll see what happens in the future.”

Mourinho: Falcao is a forbidden fruit

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho claims he will make no attempt to sign Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid as a result of a “pact of non-aggression” between the two sides.

The former Inter boss explained that the unwritten agreement between the Madrid rivals makes it impossible for him to sign key players from Los Rojiblancos.

“Falcao is a fundamental player for our rivals, just like Kun Aguero was. There is a pact of non-aggression between Real Madrid and Atletico so I think Falcao is a forbidden fruit,” Mourinho told A Bola.

“He’s a fantastic player, and I get the feeling he is a lovely guy, and I’m very happy to see him do so well at Atletico.”

The 49-year-old spoke previously about how he was not the most popular figure in football but says he does not care about his popularity.

When asked whether Madrid are criticised more often because he is in charge of the club, the Portuguese coach said that his success in the capital should be enough to silence the critics.

“Our results speak for themselves and show that in just over two years we have got closer and closer to Barcelona and now we are up there with them and have won the three major trophies in Spanish football in that time,” he stated.

“We broke the dominance of Barcelona, something many people thought was impossible.”

Mourinho then went on to hit back at criticism made by Tito Vilanova, who claimed that he could make a video of all the times that Pepe has kicked Barcelona players.

“It’s funny because now Pepe is in a situation where he gets booked in every game, even if he just commits one foul. People have created an image of Pepe which they find comfortable,” he added.

“He is adored at Madrid and it doesn’t matter what Vilanova says, people won’t change their mind about Pepe.”