Manchester United have sealed the £40m signing of midfielder Nemanja Matic from Chelsea following weeks of negotiations with the west London outfit. The Serbia international has put pen to paper on a three-year contract with the option of an additional 12 months, should he impress.
Matic was due to arrive at Old Trafford much earlier in the transfer window, but the Blues had held up his move until they could recruit a central midfielder of their own. The Premier League holders signed up Tiemoue Bakayoko from AS Monaco midway through the previous month, and this paved the away for Matic to secure his Red Devils move.
United boss Jose Mourinho had cited the need to recruit a new enforcer to his ranks, and he was full of praise for Matic, who has lifted the Premier League title twice in the past three seasons, he told the club’s official website: “Nemanja is a Manchester United player and a Jose Mourinho player. He represents everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition, team player.
“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 number 31.”
The 29-year-old is likely to take up a regular role at the heart of the midfield, and this could potentially see skipper Michael Carrick dropped to the bench. Matic had been training apart from his former teammates at Cobham last month, and his participation in the upcoming games could be dependent on his overall fitness after he was omitted from the Blues’ pre-season tour in order to push through the transfer.
Following his reunion with Mourinho, Matic also spoke of his delight at joining United and he is hoping to create more history alongside his new teammates, he said: “I am delighted to have joined Manchester United. To work with Jose Mourinho once again was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.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.”
Manchester United take on Sampdoria in their final pre-season friendly in Dublin on Wednesday before travelling to Skopje, where they face off against Real Madrid in the European Super Cup on August 8. Apart from Matic, the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof have joined the Europa League holders this summer, and Mourinho will now set his sights on recruiting a new attacker to the squad.