Saturday, April 21, 2018

Is Nemanja Matic undeservedly marginalised at Chelsea?

Nemanja Matic on the fringes / Image via

Nemanja Matic on the fringes / Image via

It has been a challenging season for the Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic, who struggled to find his pace throughout the campaign.

Not only did he suffer at club level, but the 27-year-old enforcer also saw out a disastrous Euro 2016 qualification process, during which normally quiet and silent Nemanja Matic hit out at his teammates’ commitment and desire.

Change of fortune

Matic was one of Chelsea’s key men during the last season when Blues won the Premier League title, but his sudden demise was to some extent interpreted as one of the key reasons for Chelsea’s struggles during the ongoing campaign.

Jose Mourinho kept picking the out-of-form midfielder hoping that Matic will get back to his best, but Guus Hiddink simply opted to leave him out of the team and play Mikel instead. Nemanja Matic is known to be an emotional guy who feeds himself on the feedback and interaction with his managers, and his confidence took a blow as well with the most recent development.

And the Serbian who was initially signed by Chelsea as a youngster before the club sold him to Benfica and then re-signed him in January 2014 has grown disillusioned at Chelsea, realising that his romantic return to the club which discarded him without offering him a real chance to prove himself is once again looking to end in emotionless manner.

Matic has three years remaining in his deal with Chelsea.

Nemanja Matic has made 31 Premier League appearances this season 26 of which were starts for Blues, while the 27-year-old completely lost his place in the team towards the end of March and in April. Chelsea midfielder was absent for four games as he missed clashes with West Ham, Aston Villa, Swansea and Manchester City.

Cynicism a tool of defence

He returned to the squad in a 4-1 triumph over Bournemouth, when he managed an assist for Chelsea’s fourth and a rare smile this season to joke about his overall performance.

“I think I played like Zinedine Zidane, but that’s normal for me”, joked the Serbian, which was his subtle way of telling Hiddink he wanted to play.

Dutchman was left undeterred as he allowed Serbian only 77 minutes against Spurs in the next round, but Matic made a full comeback in the last game against Sunderland.

Grabbing the chance with both hands the Serbian scored a goal on the stroke of the half-time to restore Chelsea’s lead at the Stadium of Light, well before the Black Cats performed a stunning comeback against the Blues.

The towering Serb lacked emotions after finding the net as he refused to celebrate his goal, raising more questions about his future at Stamford Bridge.

“I had my reasons. Everything can change in a couple of months”, Matic was pretty clear to voice out his discontent.

Summer a pivotal moment

The Serbian is believed to be keen to leave Stamford Bridge after a frustrating season and a couple of scenarios for his departure have already been put to place.

Juventus have reignited their long-standing interest for the 27-year-old and are reportedly ready to offer £20 million to land the Serbian in the summer. The Serie A champions and Chelsea could do business this summer in more than one occasion as Blues are keen to get Paul Pogba, while Juventus also like Oscar. We should not forget Juan Cuadrado, who is still a Chelsea player.

Nemanja Matic is believed to be interested in a move to Turin, but he is keen to stay in England if the chance should present itself. And here is where the second scenario takes place.

Nemanja Matic is reportedly waiting for the final development regarding Jose Mourinho and his potential arrival to Old Trafford, ready to follow his former boss to Manchester United.

Chelsea are however likely to be unwilling to sell Matic to their Premier League rivals and are sure to command a hefty transfer fee for the 27-year-old midfield enforcer.

Last year’s champions have two games remaining in the Premier League and will travel to Anfield on Wednesday, before taking on new champions Leicester at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are standing at the odds of 14/5 to emerge victorious against Liverpool in their penultimate match of the season.

Nemanja Matic is hoping to be given a fresh chance to prove his worth in the remaining matches, but is aware that much will depend on the soon-to-become new boss Antonio Conte, who is already targeting AS Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan, it is believed.

What is your opinion, should Nemanja Matic be sold this summer?


Milos Markovic

Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently and His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.



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