Chelsea are in the process of agreeing a deal with Inter Milan for Nemanja Matic in order to prevent the 28-year-old from joining Manchester United, according to reports.
The midfielder, central to Chelsea’s title success last season, appeared to be on the verge of a £40m move to Old Trafford last month, with Tiemoue Bakayoko coming in to replace him.
But Man United’s capture of Romelu Lukaku, a crucial target for Antonio Conte, has deterred Chelsea from further emboldening Jose Mourinho’s squad.
And according to the London Evening Standard‘s Simon Johnson, Chelsea have begun talks with Inter over a potential £34m deal for the 28-year-old.
Conte is bitter to the extent that he is willing to accept a reduced fee – a whole £6m – just to avoid selling Matic to United. The real talk happens on the pitch, of course, but nobody can doubt that Mourinho has ruffled the Italian’s feathers even before a ball has been kicked.
Doubt remains over whether Inter can really afford the Serbian’s wages, but perhaps their willingness to complete the deal suggests they are confident of receiving the necessary funds from elsewhere – possibly from finally overseeing a move to Old Trafford for Ivan Perisic.