New Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho looks set to raid his former club Chelsea in bid to sign Mourinho’s former midfield powerhouse Nemanja Matic and is willing to use a player as a make-weight to make the deal happen.
Mourinho has drawn up a list of players he wants to bring to Manchester ahead of the 2016-17 season and there is no surprise Matic is top of that list as Mourinho looks set to add strength to United’s depleted midfield.
The player Mourinho is willing to use in an exchange deal is reportedly Matteo Darmian. Darmian, who has struggled at United since his arrival from Torino in 2015 looks set to have his premature career with United cut short and used as bait to secure Mourinho’s main midfield target.
Matic was part of Mourinho’s dominant title success for Chelsea when they won the league in 2015, we recently covered that Mourinho wants a reunion with him this summer and a deal has taken a slight twist.
Although Matic was not as influential this season he still showed dominating performances in patches. Matic managed to win 2.34 tackles per 90 this season which is still very impressive for a defensive midfielder. Standing over 6ft he has been a force in the air winning 1.34 aerial duels. Although Matic hasn’t managed as many interceptions as another potential United target, Kante, he still manages to get a very high score of 2.49.
The 27-year-old midfielder who has 28 caps for Serbia will certainly be in demand if he does become available this summer, but it is likely he would like to reunite with former manager Mourinho at Manchester United.
Antonio Conte could be persuaded in a deal that contains Darmian, a player he knows well and has been his first choice right back during his reign with Italy.
Conte likes the idea of bringing Darmian to Stamford Bridge, a player that is used to the formation and demands of the manager. Mourinho has identified Darmian as the key piece in negotiations due to his close affiliation with new Chelsea boss Conte.
Matic has had an under-performing season with the Blues and fell out of favour with former manager Guus Hiddink playing second fiddle to John Obi Mikel.
Matic will certainly like the idea of linking up with Mourinho at United, the manager who showed much faith in the midfielder and arguably got his best football from him.
Chelsea will, of course be reluctant to sell to a direct rival, but a swap deal that could see a Conte / Darmian reunion may be too hard to turn down for the new Blues manager.