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Manchester United sign Nemanja Matic as midfielder seals £40m move

By The Rainbow
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Manchester United have confirmed the signing of midfielder Nemanja Matic from Chelsea in a three-year deal that sees the Serbian move to Old Trafford for £40million.

Matic, who will wear the No 31 at United, was left to train alone at Cobham during Chelsea’s pre-season tour of Asia and the Premier League  champions have consented to his wishes of being reunited with Jose Mourinho.

Sportsmail understands the initial fee to be £35m, with £5m in add-ons based on how the midfielder performs at United. The 28-year-old will earn £140,000 a week with the player in line for a bonus should the club succeed in the Champions League.

Matic is short of match fitness but could make his first United appearance against Sampdoria in Dublin on Wednesday, and he revealed his joy at completing the switch.

‘I am delighted to have joined Manchester United,’ Matic told the club’s website. ‘To work with Jose Mourinho once again was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

‘I have enjoyed my time at Chelsea and would like to thank the club and the fans for their support. I cannot wait to meet my new team-mates and to start training with them.

‘This is a very exciting time for the club and I am looking forward to playing my part in creating more history for this great club.’

Mourinho added: ‘Nemanja is a Manchester United player and a Jose Mourinho player. He represents everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition, team player.

Matic is United’s third major signing of the summer following his completion of a £40m move

Matic replaces Bastian Schweinsteiger in wearing the No 31 shirt for the coming campaign

The 28-year-old was pictured in Manchester United training gear after having a medical

Adidas Football posted this picture, tweeting: ‘A beast in midfield. Nemanja Matic is a red’

2016-17 season Nemanja Matic Ander Herrera Marouane Fellaini N’Golo Kante Tiemoue Bakayoko
Games Played 35 31 28 35 32
Games Started 30 27 18 35 25
Minutes Played 2697 2464 1599 3139 2219
Goals 1 1 1 1 2
Assists 7 6 0 1 1
Chances Created (inc. assists) 26 36 18 22 14
Passes 1865 2089 1058 2122 1369
Passes Successful 1636 1830 910 1884 1193
Passing Accuracy 87.72 87.6 86.01 88.78 87.14
Tackles 51 84 56 127 70
Interceptions 50 81 29 82 56
Recoveries 241 207 139 275 255
Duels Won 143 186 185 197 242

‘I would like to thank him for his desire to join us because without that, it would be impossible to have him here. I am sure our players and supporters will love him. A big welcome to our new No 31.’

Chelsea have paid tribute to Matic following his departure, writing on their official Twitter account: ‘We thank Nemanja for his fantastic service and wish him well for the future.’

The signing of Tiemoue Bakayoko meant Matic would have found regular starts limited at Stamford Bridge this season, and the defensive midfielder will now compete with Michael Carrick for a first-team place.

Owner Roman Abramovich had given him permission to join a Premier League rival as a reward for helping the club lift the title twice in the last three seasons.

Though Juventus expressed interest, they were unwilling to match the financial package plus the length of contract that Matic sought. Instead, he will be reunited with former Chelsea boss Mourinho, who tried to sign Matic last season.

Mourinho had targeted at least four signings this summer, though accepts he may have to be satisfied with three following the arrivals of Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku.

Talks over a deal for Ivan Perisic at Inter Milan remain at an impasse, with United unwilling to match the £50m asking price or include Anthony Martial in the deal.

Prior to Matic’s unveiling, Mourinho said: ‘I depend on the situation, the market, and if my club is unable to do two players and just one, I accept that as a consequence of the market now.’

Midfielder Ander Herrera is expected to agree terms on a new four-year contract and a proposed contract offer to veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic remains a possibility.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has quashed speculation that Marouane Fellaini could leave United for Galatasaray – saying there is more chance of him joining the Turkish club than the midfielder.

Fellaini scored United’s first goal in their 3-0 victory over Norwegian side Valerenga on Sunday, after Galatasaray sporting director Cenk Urgin outlined their desire to sign the 29-year-old.

Mourinho insists Fellaini is staying put, and said: ‘It is easier for Galatasaray to get me than Marouane. Marouane – forget it. He’s very important for me.’

Mourinho has quashed speculation that Marouane Fellaini could leave Manchester United

Mourinho said there is more chance of him joining suitors Galatasaray than the midfielder

Matic was coached by his father at his first youth-team club, Vrelo, before joining several other youth teams including Obrenovac 1905, Red Star Belgrade and Partizan. However, he is not the only Matic to make it in the professional ranks.

His younger brother, Uros, is a central midfielder who plays for Danish side Copenhagen. The 27-year-old started his career at Slovakian side Kosice, where Nemanja was a first-team regular, and would join his older brother at Benfica in 2013.

A year later, Uros signed for Dutch side NAC Breda before joining Austrian side Sturm Graz and then Copenhagen in January 2017. He made 39 appearances in all competitions last season and also featured in the Europa League.


Prior to joining Chelsea for his first spell in 2009, Matic had a trial with then-Premier League side Middlesbrough and was set to join the club after an international break with Serbia.

However, talks broke down between the north-east side and Kosice before the Blues stepped in to snap up the midfielder for £1.5million. Where would his career be now if he joined Boro?

The 28-year-old was originally signed as a playmaker by Carlo Ancelotti in 2009 but struggled to break into the first team with the likes of Germany international Michael Ballack and stalwart Michael Essien ahead of him in the midfield pecking order.

However, the transfer to Benfica in 2011 saw manager Jorge Jesus change his role into a defensive midfielder, where he has become one of the most consistent players in the position ever since.

Matic has shown he can still contribute in the final third of the pitch too, with long-range efforts against Everton and Tottenham in recent seasons reminding fans that he is not a one-trick pony.

Whilst at Benfica, Matic refused to play for his country under the management of Sinisa Mihajlovic, citing the fact that he did play a single minute during his five previous call-ups before returning to the squad for a World Cup qualifier against Croatia in September 2013, where he was sent off.

He also threatened to quit international football in November 2015 after criticising his Serbia team-mates as they crashed to a 4-1 defeat to Czech Republic with qualification to Euro 2016 already out of the question with a fourth-placed finish in their group.

The Portuguese manager was the man who brought Matic back to Stamford Bridge from Benfica for a fee around £20million to reinforce Chelsea’s central midfield.

Mourinho spoke glowingly of the Serbian on his second unveiling, he said: ‘He has grown as a player in Portugal and has become a fantastic all-round midfielder. I like him a lot because of his stability. He is a very stable player for someone who is still so young, only 25.’

When Mourinho took over at Manchester United last summer, the 54-year-old was linked with the central midfielder but the move was blocked by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte. He has now fulfilled his wish at the second time of asking.