The post-Sir Alex Ferguson exodus looks to have begun, with skipper Nemanja Vidic confirming he would be leaving Manchester United come the end of the season.
Vidic's contract runs out in the summer, and it was understood the Serbian international was testing waters across Europe, with plenty of interest arising from Italy.
Reports in the UK suggest Vidic was not offered an extension to his contract, and the 32-year-old has now decided to try his hand at a club outside the English Premier League.
"It's the last year of my contract and I have had eight wonderful years here," Vidic said in a statement posted on the club's official website. "My time at this great club will always rank as the best years of my career.
"I never could have imagined winning 15 trophies and I will certainly never forget that fantastic night in Moscow [when United beat Chelsea in the Champions League final in 2008], memories that will live with me and the fans forever. However, I have decided that I will move on at the end of this season. I want to challenge myself again and try to make the best of myself in the coming years."
Vidic, who joined Manchester United for £7 million from Spartak Moscow in January 2006, also confirmed he would not consider moving to another club in England.
"I'm not considering staying in England as the only club I ever wanted to play for here is Manchester United and I was lucky enough to be part of this club for so many years," Vidic added. "I've got a few options to move on and I will choose the right one for me and for my family.
"I am now going to focus all my efforts on playing for Manchester United and do the best I can for the team until the end of the season. I hope this stops any further speculation about my future."
One of those options looks like being Inter Milan, with Vidic reportedly close to agreeing a deal with the Italian giants - the defender is free to talk to clubs outside the Premier League with his contract finishing at the end of the season.
Vidic was one of the best, if not the best, Premier League defenders for much of his time at Manchester United, but injuries have taken its toll in the last couple of years, which has seen his talents considerably wane.
A fresh start, like the stalwart himself said, could be just the tonic needed to reinvigorate his career; but before that there is a small issue that Vidic will no doubt want to help out in - getting United into the Champions League for next season.
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