Matic signs for Chelsea
Chelsea’s first—and perhaps only—bit of business in this January transfer window could be recognised as good and bad.
On Wednesday they announced—via their official website—the signing of Nemanja Matic from Benfica on a five-and-a-half-year contract. Winner of the Portuguese league’s player of the season award for 2012-13, BBC Sport reports that the midfield cost the Blues £21 million.
All that might be fine and dandy, but for the fact Matic was a Chelsea player as recently as three years ago. He joined the Portuguese giants back in 2011 as part of the deal that took David Luiz to Stamford Bridge.
Some might scoff at Jose Mourinho spending so much of Roman Abramovich’s money on a player they previously had. As it is, the 25-year-old returns to the Premier League with his reputation suitably enhanced from his time in Portugal.
Writing for The Guardian, Jonathan Wilson described Matic the all-round midfielder as “such an obvious fit for this Chelsea midfield that it remains mystifying that he never got his chance first time round.”
The Serbia international is likely to get that opportunity now. His signing is viewed as a move by Mourinho to strike a better balance between his squad’s attacking midfielders and those also to found doing dirty work in the team’s engine room.
As part of those balancing efforts, Kevin de Bruyne is moving in the opposite direction. BBC Sport’s Ben Smith has the Belgian moving to Wolfsburg in a five-year deal that could end up costing the Bundesliga outfit as much as £20 million.
De Bruyne spent last season on loan in Germany with Werder Bremen. Any hopes he had of making it with Chelsea have been extinguished since Mourinho returned, with the manager preferring other options in his squad.
One other attacking midfielder who continues to be linked with a move elsewhere is Juan Mata.
The Mirror’s Dave Kidd has talked up the possibility of Bayern Munich looking to recruit the playmaker in the summer. The same writer also cites ongoing speculation that Mata could go out on loan to Atletico Madrid as he looks to keep his hopes of making Spain’s World Cup squad alive.
One player back in West London for the time being is England Under-21 international Nathaniel Chalobah.
The 19-year-old midfielder’s loan spell at Nottingham Forest ended without being renewed on Wednesday. He had made 12 appearances since joining in September, scoring twice.
With two weeks left, there is still plenty of time for business to be conducted in the current transfer window. Chelsea may be satisfied only bringing Matic in, but do not be surprised if they look to offload a few before the month is out.