No, the Serbian midfielder himself is not the problem here.
But his transfer is the core to the issue burning behind the surface and getting ready to explode in Chelsea’s face unless Roman Abramovich finds a swift solution in the remaining weeks of the summer transfer market.
Nemanja Matic is not exactly a headline grabber and the most exciting player in the Premier League but the Serbian international comes with bags of quality, experience and a winning mentality all of which Chelsea lost having sold him to league rivals Manchester United.
Matic Hits the Ground Running at United
Despite playing only 45 minutes of competitive football this summer after spending the most of the preseason training on his own, Nemanja Matic was one of rare United players to emerge with credit from the 2-1 UEFA Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid in Skopje.
Jose Mourinho trusted him ahead of Marouane Fellaini and former Chelsea midfielder repaid his manager with an authoritative display in the centre of the park. The 29-year-old midfielder added instant composure and elegance, but also strength and stability both in defence and in attack.
The full scope of his influence and importance in Manchester United’s performance last night was a single black mark standing over his display – a slip in the build-up to Real Madrid’s second goal between Bale and Isco when both Matic and Lindelof were left behind with a silky one-two. On the other end of the spectrum, it was thanks to the Serbian’s unintentional assist to Lukaku after his long-range effort got parried by Keylor Navas that Manchester United managed to score their only goal of the night.
For the best part of the match, Nemanja Matic was stifling Real Madrid and doing his best to offer support to players going upfront. His overwhelmingly positive performance in Skopje stands as a glowing example of everything that Chelsea will miss during their Premier League title defence they are given 7/2 betting odds to emerge victorious from and, arguably, of everything that was undervalued during the Serbian’s time at Stamford Bridge.
Matic’s Spirit Still Strong in London
Nemanja Matic’s name is echoing strongly at Chelsea over the past couple of weeks as it becomes apparent that Antonio Conte might have been against his sale to Manchester United. A player who racked up 35 league appearances in Chelsea’s title charge now stands as a proof that there is something rotten at Stamford Bridge.
“Matic knows very well what I think about him. The importance for me about this player, as I repeat he’s a really good player, he’s a really strong player, very important for our team. But sometimes I think you must accept this crazy summer transfer market. Sometimes you must accept different decisions. But I repeat – for sure this is a great loss, a gross loss for us.”, Conte told Sky Sports.
Plain logic makes it hard for even the most oblivious football fan to realise why in God’s name would champions want to sell their prized asset to direct league rivals, without bringing in an adequate replacement.
They did fork out a significant amount of money to sign AS Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko who, from the current standpoint, remains nothing more than a more attractive name than Matic.
The Serbian’s Premier League experience could prove to be a world’s difference as Blues wait for the summer arrival Bakayoko to hit the ground running.
Bakayoko remains a gamble, however, as he is yet to get accustomed to the new surroundings and demands of the Premier League football which have been known to come as a huge burden for newcomers.
Serbia Midfielder the Biggest Stumbling Block at Chelsea?
Antonio Conte did warn that Chelsea must bring more players to have a fighting chance in the forthcoming season and Roman Abramovich should be very much aware that he risks losing his manager if he fails to deliver.
The Russian businessman and Chelsea owner is in the middle of a divorce and most certainly have more important things to think about than football, but his project could very well lose a leading figure unless anything changes until 31 August.
With a player being sold against his wishes, Antonio Conte might begin to feel agitated and it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see him walk away despite only signing a new deal recently. Antonio Conte is not the most loyal tactician in football but he is definitely a person who takes good care of himself. His Juventus departure in 2014 came after a Serie A title and a summer Conte felt Bianconeri haven’t done enough in the market to win the Champions League.
Recognise a pattern?
Conte is highly unlikely to leave with less than a week before the new season starts and with Chelsea due to play Burnley on Saturday but Chelsea should be concerned over the overall negative atmosphere that is being created after Nemanja Matic’s departure.
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