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Official: Manchester United sign Nemanja Matić from Chelsea

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images




Modern football.

Monday, July 31: Manchester United have completed the signing of Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matić, just in time for his 29th birthday, which is tomorrow. Matić reunites with José Mourinho for the second time in his career.

Matić had looked out the door this time last season as well, but ended up not leaving after Conte convinced him to stay — here’s Graham’s most definitely not fake account of how that all happened ... in his imagination. Though that narrative is under attack already, perhaps not coincidentally timed with Matić’s medical at Carrington yesterday.

There were a few rumors of a possible contract extension, but the situation became quite clear when Matić was quarantined away from the rest of the squad after the first day of pre-season and did not join Chelsea on the pre-season tour of Asia that just finished.

And so, Matić leaves the club for the second time, after 3.5 seasons and two Premier League titles (and a League Cup as well). Including the 3 appearances he made while a youngster, before he was shipped off to Benfica as a €5m make-weight in the David Luiz deal (who was then also re-signed later!), Matić presumably ends his Chelsea career for good with 154 appearances — the 132nd player in club history to pass the 150 career landmark.

The transfer fee is rumored to be in the £40-50m range, which seems quite generous even if we consider that we’re strengthening a direct title rival. Chelsea spent €1.5m on Matić back in 2009 and then an additional €25m to get him back from Benfica in 2014. He had two years left on the deal he signed then, so it was decision time. Unfortunately, it’s been decided that the Spiderbeast is a Chelsea player no more.


P.S.: Chelsea are thus down to zero players from Serbia the squad. As we know, you have to be Leicester-level lucky to win the league without one.

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