Soccer-Vidic departure a mutual decision, says Moyes

MANCHESTER, England, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Nemanja Vidic's decision to leave Manchester United at the end of Premier League season was a mutual one, manager David Moyes said on Friday.

The 32-year-old Serbian announced earlier in the day that he would leave the league champions when his contract expired at the end of the current campaign and look to secure a new club in Europe.

The former Red Star Belgrade and Spartak Moscow defender, who joined the club in 2006, has struggled for regular game time under Moyes, and the Scot said the timing was right for the club captain to move on.

"It was something we mutually agreed together," Moyes told United's website (

"Me and Nemanja. I think it was the right decision for both the club and the player.

"What I discussed with him will remain private but he has been a brilliant servant and captain for Manchester United. He is captain and will remain captain until the end of the season. He has been a great player for us and we will continue to play him."

United have struggled since Moyes replaced Alex Ferguson, with their hopes of retaining their title all but extinguished as they languish in seventh spot, 15 points off leaders Arsenal.

Moyes was looking to gradually overhaul the squad he inherited from his fellow Scot, but said he expected Vidic to play a crucial role for the remainder of his time at the club.

"I think people know that I've got things in my mind that I want to do and things I wanted to change in time," the former Everton boss said.

"I can't do it all overnight. That wasn't the reason for this. As I said, this was a decision that we mutually decided together. He felt it was the right time for him. We'll get on with it and we'll move on."

Media reports have suggested Inter Milan may be a possible destination, although Vidic would only say he would not play for another English team.

"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," he said.

"I've got a few options to move on and I will choose the right one for me and for my family."

Vidic is available for Sunday's match at Old Trafford against bottom-club Fulham, having been suspended for the past games after being sent off against Chelsea last month.

Phil Jones is in contention to play after suffering concussion in the defeat to Stoke City last week, but Jonny Evans and Marouane Fellaini will remain on the sidelines.

"Marouane picked up a groin injury in training which will probably rule him out for another week possibly," Moyes said.

"His wrist injury is much improved, but he just felt his groin after training one day this week. We'll keep an eye on him for a few days.

"Jonny Evans isn't available but there is a good chance Jones could make it. He has trained today and we'll see how he is." (Reporting By Josh Reich; editing by Toby Davis)