Manchester United have completed the signing of Nemanja Matic, but this doesn’t appear to spell the end of Marouane Fellaini’s time at the club.
Jose Mourinho made Matic a target at the end of last season, in the belief he could persuade his former club to part with the Serbian international. And despite relations with Chelsea souring over the Romelu Lukaku affair, the midfielder on Monday afternoon completed his move to Old Trafford for a reported £40million.
“I am delighted to have joined Manchester United,” said Matic.” To work with Jose Mourinho once again was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. I cannot wait to meet my new team-mates. This is a very exciting time for the club and I am looking forward to playing my part in creating more history for this great club.”
This is the second time Chelsea have sold Matic, the first being in January 2011 when he was offloaded to Benfica in the deal which saw David Luiz arrive at Stamford Bridge. This proved to be a costly error on behalf of the current Premier League champions, who three years later resigned the player for a fee of £21million.
Matic went on to collect two league titles with the Blues, the first of which under the leadership of Mourinho. The Portuguese coach has revealed the 28-year-old – who turns 29 on Tuesday – will wear the number 31 shirt at United, but more importantly, he has praised his attitude and desire to make the move happen.
“He represents everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition, team player,” he told the official club website. “I would like to thank him for his desire to join us because without that, it would be impossible to have him here. I am sure our players and supporters will love him. A big welcome to our new No31.”
Matic is expected to anchor a midfield three which also includes Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera, as Mourinho’s side begins to take shape. But any assumptions that this will pave the way for Fellaini to join Galatasaray have been shot down by the United boss, who insists still relies on the controversial Belgium international.
“It’s easier for Galatasaray to get me than Marouane Fellaini,” he said following the 3-0 pre-season friendly win over Valerenga in Oslo on Sunday afternoon, in which Fellaini opened the scoring in with a first half headed goal. “If they need a manager, they have a chance, but Marouane? Forget it. He is too important to me.”