Former Manchester United midfielder and academy coach Nicky Butt believes that Nemanja Matic will bring some much needed steel to Jose Mourinho’s midfield core next season.
It was reported last week that the Serbian, signed by Mourinho at Chelsea back in 2014, would join Man United for £40m following the imminent arrival of Tiemoue Bakayoko.
The move has been stalled by Antonio Conte’s desire to land another midfielder after Bakayoko before letting the 28-year-old leave.
Butt has noted that, when he does join, Matic will serve as an important master of the unseen aspects of United’a approach next term.
“He’s the type of player who’d be happy to sit in front of back four, a team player who doesn’t get the same attention of a goalscorer,” he said.
“He does the work that is appreciated by his teammates. The best players in a team are not always the match winners, but those who can play in a team.”
Nobody can ignore the significance of Matic winning Premier League titles in two of the three seasons he has spent in England.
The narratives have never centred on him, of course. His first title was all about Mourinho, the man who came back to Chelsea and took them to the pinnacle once again; his second was a mixture of N’Golo Kante’s brilliance, Eden Hazard’s renaissance, the eccentric and hard to dislike Antonio Conte, and, um, John Terry. Sort of.
But anybody who was part of either success will point towards Matic as the silent, robust, almost robotic battering ram that minimised whoever dared to come in his way. Very rarely do you come across such a physically imposing truncheon in the middle with an equal measure of subtlety and craft to his approach.
He’ll kill you, make no mistake, and he’ll do it without anybody even taking much notice.