LONDON: Manchester United’s completion of the purchase of Nemanja Matic from champions Chelsea has taken the transfer market into its second half. The first half was pre-season work and the second half is undertaken with the season getting under way.
Sunday’s Community Shield matches Chelsea against FA Cup-holders Arsenal with the kickoff having been brought forward so as not to clash with television coverage for the UEFA Women’s European semi-final between England and hosts Holland in Enschede.
The Serbia international, 28, is linking up with former manager Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford on a three-year deal for £40m. Matic won two Premier League titles with the Blues but it had been clear he was heading towards the exit after Antonio Conte brought Tiemoue Bakayoko to Stamford Bridge from Monaco.
Matic and Mourinho engaged in a mutual admiration society on finally sealing a deal which has been on the brink since June.
The player said: “Manchester is one of the biggest clubs in the world (but) also my wish was to train with Jose. Of course when you have a coach like him and a club like Manchester is you don’t need to think a lot so my decision was very easy. I am very happy because we will work again together. He is a great coach and, when I worked with him before, he always took the best from me and I improve if I work with him.”
Mourinho responded: “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 am sure our players and supporters will love him.”
Matic first joined the Blues in 2009 but left the following year. After impressing at Benfica, he was brought back to Stamford Bridge by Mourinho for £21m in 2014.
However if Chelsea are hoping that their ongoing transfer dealings will include the acquisition of Chile striker Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal they will be disappointed.
Sanchez has made little secret of his wish to move to a club with more trophy and Champions League potential than Arsenal but now that he has returned after a late holiday and illness he is having to face reality.
Manager Arsene Wenger has told Sanchez that, even if he is sold, then it will not be to another Premier League club. Wenger has been talking up the positive factors in letting a player run down his contract.
This is also the case with Mesut Ozil.
Wenger said: “It is not a problem for us. If a player wants to go at the end of his contract then he will play as well as he can to make sure that he can valuable to someone else.”