Vidic says he's committed to Manchester United
Nemanja Vidic wants to be the rock Sir Alex Ferguson builds his next Manchester United team around.
Vidic's Old Trafford future has been called into question recently, with speculation again mounting that his wife Ana is unhappy in the north-west, particularly the climate.
Barcelona and AC Milan would almost certainly jump at the chance of signing the 28-year-old, now firmly established as one of the best central defenders in the world.
Vidic is non-plussed at the latest gossip, although its origins are from an interview he gave in Russia last year when he described the United Kingdom as "joyless" and made particular reference to the amount of rainfall he experiences in Manchester.
He also indicated a desire to play somewhere warmer at some later stage in his career.
However, Vidic appears to have had a major change of heart. And instead of looking for an escape route, he wants to become an integral part of the team that must be built once the likes of Ryan Giggs and Edwin van der Sar call time on their careers.
"I am glad to have been part of this club for so many years and if I could be one of the bases on which a new team is built I would be very happy.
"I have never said I want to go and play in another country. Other people have spoken or written about it and I am not happy with that.
"But I have said in the past what I think. I don't want to keep talking about it because I can't stop what people say.
"The fact is I am happy here."
It has been suggested Vidic's advisors have been happy to let rumours about the interest from Barcelona in particular rumble on because it would bring forward talks on a new contact.
The Serbian's present deal expires in 2012, so the likelihood is United would want to open negotiations towards the end of this season to avoid the potential for Vidic - who cost £7.2million when he moved from Spartak Moscow on Christmas Day 2005 - leaving at a knock-down price.
However, if Vidic is involved in some elaborate political game, he is a pretty shrewd operator, judging by his reaction to such a possibility after United's 1-0 defeat by Besiktas at Old Trafford last night.
"I don't want to rush and I don't want to speak about my future in the media," he said.
"I will speak about it to the club. But I don't want to push them. I don't want to push anyone.
"We will see what happens. I am here and I am happy. I have shown in the games that I want to be part of the team and to play every game 100% for this club."
Vidic's response will receive an enthusiastic response from the overwhelming majority of United fans, who have warmed to the defender's tough-tackling style.
With Rio Ferdinand's long-standing back complaint starting to cause concern, Ferguson would not want to risk losing his other defensive linchpin.
Not that Vidic has been free from injury himself.
He has only just returned from a calf strain that kept him out for three weeks and a pre-season knee injury saw him consigned to the sidelines for the opening three games.
"I am not happy because I have had a lot of injuries," he said.
"All the time I feel something. That worries me. But I don't have a problem with my form and at the moment I am 100%."
Nevertheless, the axis between Ferdinand and Vidic has been in operation on only four occasions in the Premier League this season.
The only time United failed to collect maximum points was at Liverpool, which probably explains why United have looked defensively slack at times this term.
"We need to get back to keeping clean sheets," he said.
"It is very important for the team when you don't lose goals. When you have stability at the back it is easier for the forwards and midfield players.
"With the quality players we have we can always score. This year, not just Manchester United, all teams have lost more goals than last season.
"But we need to improve and I hope we will do better in the few games."
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