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Nemanja Matic welcomes N'Golo Kanté challenge

Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

When Nemanja Matić came back to Chelsea in January of 2014, we hailed him as our midfield saviour.  Over the following 12-18 months, he was indeed just that.  The mythical Spiderbeast weaved his protective web around our defense, allowing the front five to operate with relative impunity.

Perhaps this was too much to ask.  Or perhaps Matić will turn out to have been just a one-season, one-year wonder.  Perhaps that infamous Ashley Barnes incident truly and permanently damaged his psyche.  Whatever the reason, Matić was a shadow of his former self last season, and while Mourinho persisted with him despite all available visual evidence, Hiddink had no qualms about dropping him in favor of John Obi Mikel.  Matić did work his way back into lineups towards the end of the season, and he even put in a few good performances, but he did not paint a happy figure.

If a deluge of exit rumors would've followed after the curtains were drawn on a most terrible campaign, it would've hardly been surprising.  But they didn't.  A few tenuous links with Juventus have popped up now and again, but the silence is mostly winning and that most likely means that Matić isn't going anywhere.

In fact, he's welcoming the new competition and the new, presumptively, first-choice midfielder, N'Golo Kanté.

"I am sure that 100,000 players want to come to play for Chelsea so there is always competition, all life is a fight so every player is ready for that."

"Yes, [it is great to have Kanté] he is a good player and I am sure that he will bring a lot of qualities to our team and all good players are welcome to our team. He is a great player and it was difficult play against him [last season] and I am very happy because he is coming to Chelsea."

-Nemanja Matic; source: Squawka

Granted, that's a fairly standard answer to a fairly standard situation.  And if Juventus do indeed sell Paul Pogba, as it's looking highly likely, they might still turn to the soon-to-be 28-year-old Serbian midfielder.  Chelsea boss Antonio Conte supposedly wants more signings, too, so it is entirely possible that a few more players will come and go before the end of the transfer window.

But for now, the status quo remains and off to America we go.

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