Antonio Conte’s imminent £35m capture of AS Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko has paved the way for Matic to seek a move elsewhere.
And according to M.E.N, the 28-year-old has reached a verbal agreement with Mourinho, who has placed emphasis on securing a sturdy defensive midfielder to free up Paul Pogba next season.
Transfer windows have a unique capacity to conjure up something and then have it dashed in a matter of hours. We have seen it with both Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski, but these stories hardly had any substance behind them anyway.
The case of Fabinho, however, was different: Italian outlets were claiming just yesterday that a €35m deal was in place for the Brazilian, but it seems as if Mourinho has actually settled for somebody closer to home – a robust, no-nonsense and physically imposing presence he can trust, and supporters will hope to see the big man arrive in time for pre-season.