Ferguson identifies Zouma as long-term replacement for Vidic at Man Utd

Sir Alex Ferguson has begun plotting for life after Manchester United centre-back Nemanja Vidic by targeting the Serbian’s replacement – St. Etienne’s France youth international defender Kurt Zouma, the Daily Mail has reported.

The 18-year-old Zouma is highly-rated in France, having broken into the St. Etienne first team last season, playing 22 times despite his tender age. Zouma has also been extensively capped by France at youth level, appearing for the Under-16, Under-17 and Under-19 sides.

Zouma has been offered a contract extension by Les Verts, the Mail adds, so Ferguson would have to move quickly to snap up the centre-back at his current £8m valuation. Benfica’s former Real Madrid defender Ezequiel Garay is another option being considered by the Scot.

Vidic has recently returned to action following almost a year on the sidelines with a knee injury. He appeared briefly for United at the start of the current campaign but then missed three months of playing time after suffering a second injury, having originally been hurt in late 2011 against Basle, the injury ending the 31-year-old’s season in December.

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