Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic on the verge of signing for Manchester United, after both sides agree to a £40 million deal
According to the Guardian, the 28-year-old underwent his medical on Sunday. A picture of the Serbian in a Manchester United training kit was leaked online on the same day, essentially confirming the same and an official announcement can be expected any time now.
Matic, who turns 29 on the 1st of August, may very well be unveiled as a Manchester United player on his birthday. Jose Mourinho & co would have seen off competition from Serie A giants Juventus and Inter Milan, both of whom were rumoured to be interested in the midfielder.
Reports had first emerged that Matic had agreed personal terms with United back in June. Old Trafford has always been the Serbian’s first preference as he wanted to reunite with Jose Mourinho, with whom he won the English League Cup and the Premier League title at Chelsea.
A clearer image of the supposed Matic leak. If this really is shopped, whoever did it should be applauded. pic.twitter.com/4f6JMma9xI
— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) July 30, 2017
Negotiations over a transfer fee have taken time. The Blues were holding out for £50 million, but according to the Telegraph, the two sides agreed on an initial £40 million fee that could rise to £45 million, after which Matic left for Manchester on Saturday for his medical.
Upon the completion of this move, Manchester United would have spent an estimated £145.7 million on three players – a striker in Lukaku, a defender in Victor Lindelof and a midfielder in Nemanja Matic and that figure could reportedly increase by £20 million if add-ons are considered.
Chelsea would have much preferred to see the former Benfica midfielder head to Juventus so that he wouldn’t play for a direct title rival, but Blues Chief Roman Abramovich is said to have personally given the go-ahead for this move, as a gesture of gratitude for Matic’s service to the club.
This is Chelsea’s 7th permanent departure this summer and easily their most high profile, barring John Terry. Matic joins the likes of Nathan Ake, Nathaniel Chalobah, Asmir Begovic, Bertrand Traore and Christian Atsu, all of whom have been shown the door at Stamford Bridge.
The move came as a surprise, given how important Matic proved to be in Conte’s 3-4-3 system alongside N’golo Kante in their resurgent, title winning season. He kept out Cesc Fabregas for a majority of the season, but the Spaniard’s creativity proved to be too important to be left out.
Antonio Conte now has N’golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, Lewis Baker and Mario Pasalic to choose from for his midfield. Baker spent the last three seasons at MK Dons and Vitesse while Pasalic has spent his time at Elche, AS Monaco and last season, AC Milan.
The duo have been a part of Chelsea’s pre-season tour, but they are still untested in the Premier League and given that both of them are 22, they need to be playing consistently at this age. With a month remaining before the transfer window shuts, it remains to be seen whether Conte sends them out on loan and looks for better players to reinforce his midfield with.