Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic is set to sign for £40m for Manchester United this summer, and is likely to slot straight into the side alongside Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba in the engine room.
United manager Jose Mourinho originally re-signed the Serbian international at Chelsea and he went on to help the Blues to the Premier League. So will his reunion with Mourinho lead to a repeat of fortunes?
Man Utd have needed a holding midfielder
Mourinho has worked hard on plugging the gaps in the side this summer to ensure Manchester United will have a serious tilt at the Premier League next season. He signed a centre-back in Victor Lindelof and a centre-forward in Romelu Lukaku ahead of the new campaign and was missing a strong influence in the middle of the park with tactical discipline.
Nemanja Matic is one of the best choices in the Premier League for this role – after the side failed to sign Tottenham’s Eric Dier. He’s physically intimidating and wins the majority of his duels, while providing a composed head in possession and is capable of driving from deep to turn defence into attack. His role in the Manchester United side will be that of an anchor, to ensure United’s midfield isn’t overrun.
Paul Pogba is a player more effective in an attacking role, Ander Herrera is positionally indisciplined in his quest to press his opposition and provide a passing option in the final third, so United needed somebody who would stick to a holding role. And Matic’s service to Chelsea was the reason the move was possible.
The £50m “favour” from Abramovich to Mourinho
Many reports have alleged Manchester United’s deal to sign Nemanja Matic was only possible because of the Chelsea chairman’s softness. Roman Abramovich gave Matic a chance to continue playing in the Premier League after leaving the Londoners due to his service for the club, winning a title and being a fan favourite in two stints with Chelsea.
However, the price was believed to be slightly bumped up as a result of Manchester United hi-jacking their deal to re-sign Lukaku. Nevertheless, Mourinho comes out the winner as he signs a player who was a brilliant servant the last time to two worked together, while defending champions Chelsea have lost real depth from their squad.
Chelsea’s loss is Manchester United gain, something Abramovich will have known, but didn’t want to deny Matic due to gratitude due to his professionalism and performances. Manchester United are 10/3 to win the Premier League next season.
Is Matic the last piece of the puzzle?
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