Chelsea are set to splash the cash in the January transfer window after all, as Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic is heading back to Stamford Bridge.
Or so he says.
Matic, 23, spent two years at Chelsea before leaving in 2011 in the deal that saw David Luiz make the switch in the opposite direction. But over the past few seasons the holding midfielder has carved out a career for himself as one of Europe’s best destroyers in central midfield.
According to an interview Matic gave with A Bola, he confirmed he will no longer play for Benfica and has his heart set on a move back to England to play for Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.
“The game against FC Porto [on Sunday] was my last game for Benfica,” Matic said. “I want to thank everyone at the club and all the fans. Benfica will forever be in my heart. I played here for two-and-a-half years, gave my best at every training session, and now it is the right moment to leave. I want to improve, I want to play in a better league and I want to go to Chelsea, a club I also love.”
Matic went on to thank Benfica’s President and revealed that the club begged him to stay, but he feels that now is the right moment to move on.
But would he fit into Chelsea’s current squad? A resounding yes.
Apart from John Obi Mikel, Chelsea does not possess a true holding midfielder and even though Luiz can do a job in that position if asked to, it’s not the same. Matic is tidy in possession and powerful in breaking up play and starting attacks. That’s exactly the type of player Mourinho needs in this window and it seems as though the only player he will be sacrificing is winger Kevin De Bruyne who is set to move to Wolfsburg for $22 million.
Those two deals would be good business for Chelsea, as their gritty displays and Mourinho-esque stability would suit Matic well. He never really got a chance to shine as a teenager at Stamford Bridge, let’s see how he does second-time around after excelling in the Portuguese top-flight with giants Benfica.
My guess: he’ll take to the Premier League and it’s combative style like a duck to water.