Jose Mourinho and Manchester United have been told by the Chelsea hierarchy that they can have Nemanja Matic for £50 million.
According to a report in The Mirror, Manchester United’s initial £35 million bid for the Serbian was turned down by Chelsea, who are demanding £50 million for the midfielder. Matic, who is also reported to be a target for Juventus, has personally asked for a move to Old Trafford.
The Premier League champions are reportedly willing to sell Matic to the Serie A giants for less than £50 million, but Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich has agreed to sell him to a direct title rival as a gesture of ‘goodwill’, thanking him for his 4-and-a-half years of service to the club.
The Blues are still said to be hurting from the manner in which the Red Devils managed to snatch Romelu Lukaku away from them in the transfer window a few weeks ago, and making them pay up big bucks for Matic is reportedly their way of easing the pain.
The Serbian international, who turns 29 in August, has spent 7 years of his career as a Chelsea player spread out over two spells. He joined the Blues in 2009 from then Slovak Superliga side Kosice, and would go on to make only 3 appearances for them that season.
The following season, he was sent out on loan to Vitesse Arnhem, before being shipped off to Benfica in January as a part of a player+cash deal which saw David Luiz making the switch to Stamford Bridge. It was here, where he would rise to prominence over the course of the next 3 seasons.
After establishing himself as one of the most promising defensive midfielders in Europe, Chelsea would come back for him and buy him back in January 2014 for around £21 million and under the management of Jose Mourinho, he would become one of the best midfielders in the world.
Over the course of 151 appearances he has made since his return, he scored 7 goals and racked up 20 assists in addition to winning 3 trophies with the club, including 2 Premier League titles.
While he suffered a dip in form like many at the club in what was a disastrous 2015/16 season, the Italian has once again helped him find his stride and he was an integral part of Conte’s 3-4-3 formation and was one half of an almost impenetrable central midfield pairing alongside N’golo Kante.
Chelsea have been letting go of midfielders this summer, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danilo Pantic and Marco van Ginkel all sent out on loan, while Nathaniel Chalobah has been allowed to join Watford on a permanent basis.
However, after the acquisition of Tiemoue Bakayoko from AS Monaco, Chelsea may be willing to let Matic go as well in order to pave the way for younger players like Lewis Baker and Mario Pasalic, both of whom have joined Conte’s squad for the Blues’ pre-season tour.
It remains to be seen, though, if Manchester United are willing to cough up the required £50 million, especially after spending over £100 million on Lukaku and Lindelof.
Matic will no doubt prove to be a fine acquisition for Jose Mourinho’s midfield. But letting him go has the potential to come back and haunt Conte and Chelsea in the future, should the Serb hit top form at Old Trafford.