The transfer window has hit full tilt and each and every club across Europe is doing its level best to ensure it can compete for trophies when the new season kicks-off in August. None more so than Manchester United, who have found themselves unusually far away from competing with Europe’s elite ever since Alex Ferguson left. Jose Mourinho is currently finishing his two-season rebuild of the team and he’s made several moves to set the team up in his image as far as possible, with Nemanja Matic being the latest move.
The 28-year-old Serbian national was a lynchpin in Mourinho’s Chelsea side that won the 2014/2015 league title, but also one of the first players to be singled out for criticism when Mourinho’s 2015/2016 fell apart in spectacular fashion. Matic is generally deployed as a defensive midfielder, a safety net that patrols ahead of the back four and mops up any dangerous attacks the opposition tries to put together. United have plenty of midfielders capable of doing the fancy things, dribbling the ball through midfield and playing 60-yard highlights reel passes – but they didn’t really have a work horse until now.
With the addition of Matic it should mean Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera, United’s two best midfielders from last season, will have more freedom to link up with the forwards instead of worrying about protecting the defence from being overrun. Paul Pogba had a decent first season, but he’ll need to step it up a level if he’s going to live up to his price tag, and Matic’s presence at the base of midfield should provide him with just that opportunity.
His £40m move from Mourinho’s former side Chelsea means he could be available for United’s UEFA Super Cup game against Real Madrid later this month, if his fitness permits. Many pundits think Matic might be the most important signing United make, but will the lanky midfielder boost the Red Devil’s into title contention?