Well, except by Chelsea. Or maybe he is wanted by Chelsea but he doesn’t want them. It’s a complicated situation. But Chelsea’s relentless pursuit of Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, in every way an upgrade on Matic, is a big sign that the Blues don’t consider Matic to be starting calibre. That doesn’t mean his time at Stamford Bridge has to be over. After all the season is long, injuries happen (Bakayoko is injured right now, that’s why the deal has dragged out) and squad depth is essential. Cesc Fabregas likely won’t be a regular starter either, but he’ll play a lot regardless.
But Matic is unhappy at his obvious demotion to the second string and wants to leave. He is currently training on his own away from the rest of the squad, which could be because he’s injured, but it could also be because he’s hoping to get a move away. Though, where could he go? Squawka investigates!
The perfect situation for Matic would be that he be allowed to join Manchester United. The Red Devils’ interest in the Serbian midfielder is long-standing, and he has been earmarked as a potential target pretty much since José Mourinho took over at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese is the reason for the link, as he’s keen to bring in a familiar face to help fill the gap in midfield. Mourinho wants a defensive midfielder, a powerful presence at the heart of his midfield to sweep up in front of the defence and free-up Paul Pogba to attack.
Matic fits the bill here, and his knowledge and experience of the Premier League would allow him to settle in straight away. But given that United snuck in ahead of Chelsea to capture Romelu Lukaku, infuriating Antonio Conte, it’s unlikely that that the Blues will sanction any sale to United, meaning that this option will likely remain a dream unfulfilled.
If there’s one thing you can say about Inter, it’s that they don’t really care about their transfer business making much sense. Their squad is never assembled with any real plan, even when they hire coaches who very definitely need to have a plan (e.g. Frank de Boer).
They’re a helter skelter club, and their squad represents this. But on the plus side, this makes them an excellent home for misfit footballers who are too good to seriously move down the ladder for regular game-time but find themselves wanting a featured first-team role.
Thus the Italian club are understandably looking to capitalise on Matic’s unrest at Chelsea (and his inability to move to United) by bringing him to the San Siro. There he could line-up in the historic San Siro stadium and play alongside wonderful talents like Geoffrey Kondogbia, Mauri Icardi and Gabigol. It may not be his dream, but it’s a realistic option.
Hoffenheim are a frenetic side who took the Bundesliga by storm in 2016/17. Managed by young Julian Nagelsmann, they play a relentless style of football in a 3-1-4-2. Their central midfield trio consists of two energetic dribblers who focus on attacking through passes and shots at goal.
The dynamic attacking play of Kerem Demirbay and Nadiem Amiri was made possible, last season, by Sebastian Rudy holding midfield behind them. Rudy has now gone to Bayern Munich, so Matic would be able to comfortably slot into that role at the base of midfield. He has the technical and tactical ability to play the role and would be a good senior figure for the German side to have.
This move has to be a wildcard, though. Hoffenheim aren’t the kind of club that is likely to chase a star like Matic, let alone pay £40m for him. Even less likely is that they would (or could) come close to matching the wages he’s on at Chelsea.
Squawka Suggests: PSG
Nemanja Matic needs a club that would be willing to pay him a lot of money and play him for a lot of minutes. He needs Champions League football too, so that he can continue to chase his ambitions at the highest level of the game away from Stamford Bridge.
The logical destination, then, would be PSG. Les Parisiens are fresh off losing Ligue 1 to mighty Monaco, and getting whomped 6-1 by Barcelona, and they need to add some steel and Championship mentality because they still don’t have any after Zlatan Ibrahimovic left the club.
Well, earlier this week they announced Dani Alves, so that’s one. And to be fair Di Maria is a serial winner and also at the club so that’s two. Matic with his two Premier League winners medals would be another. PSG need to instill a true winning mentality in the squad. Simply having a stronger squad than everyone else doesn’t count for much when faced with a truly unified team, as we saw in 2016/17, so you can ignore all those Ligue 1 titles that most of this squad romped to.
Tactically Matic would fit into Unai Emery’s system perfectly. With Blaise Matuidi and Grzegorz Krychowiak failing to live up to expectations and Thiago Motta ageing badly, Matic could prove the perfect partner to the incredible Marco Verratti and resurrect his career.