Chelsea have re-signed Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic for £20m, just three years after selling him for £3m as part of the deal that brought David Luiz to Stamford Bridge.
The Serbian who has been capped nine times for his country has pushed for a move back to his former club, despite effectively being discarded and used as a makeweight for the David Luiz deal.
Many will question the inflated fee when comparing it with the pittance that Chelsea received when they sold the Serb, but it is in part offset by the significant profit that will be made from the sale of Kevin de Bruyne to Wolfsburg.
Nonetheless there will still be question marks over the price tag given Chelsea’s recent £50m annual loss, especially with the new financial fair play rules.
Matic played against Chelsea for Benfica in May’s Europa League final and international team-mate Branislav Ivanovic is quoted in the Guardian as acknowledging the progress that Matic has during his time at Benfica.
‘When he was at Chelsea you saw he has the qualities to be a top player but he needed practice,’ said Ivanovic.
‘In Portugal he has improved his defensive ways a lot and his aggressiveness. And he has great vision [going] forward.’
Matic will give Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho more options in the central midfield area. Although Chelsea have an abudance of players who can play further forward, in behind and around the striker, the deeper lying midfield role is an area in which they have struggled to find consistency. Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel and Michael Essien have each failed to fully convince Mourinho in that particular role this season.
Quoted from Chelsea’s official website, Mourinho stated:
‘I am very pleased that Nemanja is returning to Chelsea. He has grown as a player in Portugal and has become a fantastic all-round midfielder. I am sure he will become a very important member of the squad and help us to achieve our ambitions.’