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Juventus, Arsenal join Inter, Manchester United in pursuit of Nemanja Matić — reports

Plenty of interest in the Spiderbeast.

Serbia v Wales - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

This week’s flurry of transfer moves at Chelsea is set to continue with the arrival of Tiemoué Bakayoko today. The 22-year-old midfielder is expected to take the spot of Nemanja Matić in the starting lineup, at least after he’s fully recovered from his lingering knee injury, which is expected to happen by September.

Meanwhile, Matić himself is expected to be leaving, and the fact that he’s been training on his own for most of the time since the start of pre-season on Monday has only strengthened that assumption. That said, the departure of Nathaniel Chalobah late last night might yet change Chelsea’s thinking in this regard. Losing both Chalobah and Matić reduces the central midfield corps to just three players, with possibly a fourth drafted in from the reserves or the loan brigade helping to cover the two starting spots (Baker? Van Ginkel? Someone new?).

But even if Chelsea now want to keep Matić, it might be too late. Reports agree that the soon-to-be 29-year-old wants to leave, just as he wanted to last summer. Back then, Antonio Conte managed to convince him to stay by making him believe that he’d be an integral part of the team, which he turned out to very much be. But with the arrival of the £40m Bakayoko, that’s a lot harder sell.

So where next for Matić? Manchester United have been rumored for the longest, but that reunion with José Mourinho is not something Chelsea prefer. The club would very much like to sell outside of the Premier League in all likelihood, with recent interest from Inter Milan a solid possibility. Adding to those options are Juventus today, who are back in the hunt, according to Sky Italia.

Juve are having a few interesting transfer conundrums of their own happening at the moment, including the uncertainties over the futures of center back Leonardo Bonucci (more on that here) and left back Alex Sandro, who’s been steadily linked with a big-money move to Chelsea, although those rumors have withered away recently.

A much less intriguing possibility was also conjured up for Matić, namely a swap deal with Arsenal for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. As much as the Ox could be a smart signing (homegrown, versatile, etc), swap deals are rarities in football, to say the least, so we can safely file this rumor under nonsense.

In any case, chances are this situation will become clearer in the coming days as Chelsea gear up for the Tour of Asia and Bakayoko’s signing becomes official.

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