Nemanja Vidic: The Greatest Tackler in Premier League History?

Nemanja Vidic spent eight glorious years at Manchester United – English football fans were treated to some no-nonsense defending from the Serbia international on a weekly basis.

Nemanja Vidic spent eight glorious years at Manchester United – English football fans were treated to some no-nonsense defending from the Serbia international on a weekly basis. In fact, many believe that Vidic should go down as the greatest defender in Premier League history; he certainly ranks alongside the likes of John Terry, Jamie Carragher and former Red Devils teammate Rio Ferdinand and belongs in the discussion.

There is one glaring statistic that gives Vidic a clear advantage over his peers. He is one of two defenders to win the Premier League’s coveted Player of the Season award – Vincent Kompany being the other. However, Vidic was fortunate enough to claim this accolade not once but twice; an incredible achievement. In addition, he was named in the PFA Team of the Year four times from 2007 to 2011.

Known mainly for being United’s hard man at the back, Vidic developed a reputation for his physical nature. You could claim that Fernando Torres was the only striker to get the better of Vidic on a regular basis and that is a testament to the Serbian’s ability to adapt against different players. That tackle on Tottenham Hotspur defender Kyle Walker will live long in the memory of United supporters.

The former Red Devils captain started his United career with an 85% tackling success rate in his first season at Old Trafford. 85%. That is some statistic. Most newbies take a while to adjust to the pace of the Premier League but Vidic was an anomaly. He settled immediately and formed one of the greatest partnerships in top-flight history alongside Ferdinand. It was a joy to watch both players at their absolute prime.

Oh, how United could do with a Vidic-esque central defender right now. The Red Devils, 6/1 to win the Premier League title in the latest football odds, are seriously short on star quality in defence. Eric Bailly has potential but the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are inconsistent at best. An aggressive centre-half would give United a real boost going into the 2018/19 campaign…

You could make a viable case for John Terry, just like you can make a viable case for Tony Adams. To be honest, you could make a case for Rio Ferdinand as well. All three men were defensive stalwarts in their own right but Vidic was on another level. He brought traditional defending methods back to the forefront of English football – every club needs an enforcer and Vidic was United’s for the best part of a decade.

Whether you support Manchester United or not, Nemanja Vidic’s impact on England#s top flight must be respected. The Serbia star changed the way that fans viewed defenders; winning the Player of the Season award twice was a huge statement. United have failed to replace Vidic since his departure and their struggles show just how key the Serbian was to United’s success. Without a doubt, Vidic should go down as an all-time Premier League great.

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