When Nemanja Matic left Chelsea, he did so as a decent-enough Eredivisie midfielder who had yet to mould his raw potential into an actual football player. And although the Blues will be taking flack for a good while yet over the decision to essentially give him and a bucket of cash to Benfica for three years, it's not at all clear whether he'd have emerged as the same player had he not been included in the David Luiz transfer.
This isn't the same Matic we used to know. He's stronger and faster, but more important than his athletic ability is the speed at which he reads the game. The highlights in this video demonstrate just how much he's improved while on the ball -- he's capable of being much more than a pure destroyer in defensive midfield. Matic's time at Benfica's been vital in his development into a €25 million player. He left Stamford Bridge as a prospect; he returns sculpted into the real deal.
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