Chelsea's biggest need in the transfer market this winter was and remains a central midfielder. Macro van Ginkel's injury combined with whatever the heck has happened to Michael Essien's form has left us desperately light in the middle, forcing the manager to overuse Frank Lampard and Ramires while also playing David Luiz out of position.
The early rumours were uninspiring -- Inter Milan's Fredy Guarin is solid depth for a good side, but nothing more -- but now reports of a Chelsea return for Nemanja Matic are intensifying, and that's a great deal more exciting. We got the first whisperings of a potential deal towards the end of the week, and now members of the Serbian press are suggesting that it's more or less a done deal:
Unofficial: Nemanja Matic is Chelsea player from Tuesday. He was not with the Benfica last night, probably won't play vs Porto. Good luck.— Aca Stojanović (@AcaStop) January 12, 2014
So, pay close attention to what happens at the Estadio da Luz today. If Matic isn't playing, we know something very interesting is going on.
Should Matic sign with Chelsea, he'd be cup-tied for the Champions League, but one gets the impression that this would be more about boosting our chances of claiming the title than repeating European glory. I'm not as high on Matic as the experts, but I've also watched far less of him than they have, and all signs point to this being an excellent capture as long as we're not paying anywhere close to his release clause.