In the latest instalment of Profit Players, we take a look at Nemanja Matic’s move from Chelsea to Manchester United, and how the transfer resulted in being one of the best deals the Blues have conducted in some time.
The summer of 2017 is one Chelsea supporters will not forget for the club’s disastrous signings as much as Phil Neville’s bragging over Manchester United’s capture of Nemanja Matic.
In the end, though, those Chelsea supporters will probably feel like they have had the last laugh.
Even though the club were able to make a significant profit on Matic, selling him for £40.23m after re-signing him for £22.5m back in 2014 (Transfermarkt), the Blues were heavily criticised for that piece of transfer business by many, including Neville himself.
“The poorest decision I’ve seen in the Premier League,” Neville said on BBC Radio 5 live when speaking about Chelsea’s decision to sell Matic to a rival.
“I wouldn’t have let him out the building. I’d have chained him to the training ground door and said you’re not going anywhere.”
At 30 years of age and after a pretty lacklustre campaign, however, Neville might have spoken too soon.
Matic looks past his best and appears to be on a steady decline. Chelsea knew it and did what any forward-thinking club would do: move him on.
With Matic gone, it has opened the pathway for the likes of Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to come in, younger and technically better midfielders who are helping the team move away from a pragmatic style to a more adventurous one.
Has it been a completely successful transition? No. But even so, Chelsea needed to upgrade on a slow and ageing Matic, and did magnificently well to get the kind of money they did for him.
Two summers later, and it would not be a surprise to now see Manchester United try and do the same thing.