Milan join Madrid in chase for £25m Vidic
AC Milan are ready to rival Real Madrid in the battle to prise Nemanja Vidic from Manchester United this summer.
Milan are preparing to offer Dutch forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in a player-plus-cash deal for the Serbian defender.
Vidic (28) who has been sidelined since December with a calf nerve problem, has emerged as Real's leading defensive target, with the Spanish club prepared to pay £20m.
But Milan, who face United in a Champions League last-16 first-leg tie at the San Siro on February 16, are also determined to take advantage of persistent rumours of Vidic's desire to leave Old Trafford for the continent at the end of the season.
Although Vidic has consistently rebuffed speculation about his future at United, the club have made no moves to extend his contract, which expires in June 2012, and it is understood that the player's wife, Ana, has found it difficult to settle in the north west of England.
Alex Ferguson's £10m move for Chris Smalling last month has done little to quell the perception that Vidic will be sold and it is understood that United would be willing to part with the player for about £25m.
Milan coach Leonardo has been told that he will be given funds to reshape his ageing squad, but the Brazilian is ready to offload Huntelaar, who has failed to settle at the club since his £14m transfer from Real Madrid last August. Ferguson had considered making a move for the 26-year-old, who scored 76 goals in 92 appearances for Ajax, in the summer of 2007 before settling instead on a two-year loan deal for Carlos Tevez.
Huntelaar's unproductive season at the Bernabeu, followed by his failure to impress in Milan, has since dimmed his reputation. But with doubts over the Old Trafford futures of Michael Owen and Dimitar Berbatov, Milan are hopeful that Ferguson's previous interest in the player could tempt him to take him to United in part exchange for Vidic.
Meanwhile, Ferguson has revealed he was so disillusioned with professional football at one point in his playing career that he almost quit the game and came close to emigrating to Canada but says a hat-trick for St Johnstone against Rangers changed everything.
"I scored a hat-trick and became the first player to do so against Rangers at Ibrox -- it changed my life. I became a full-time footballer in the summer and never looked back." (© Daily Telegraph, London)