The Serb has completed a move to Man United for a deal worth an estimated £40m, singing a three year contract with an option of a fourth.
Any move for the 28-year-old felt unlikely after Romelu Lukaku – a big target for Chelsea – became United’s second signing of the window, but the club was eventually able to push the deal through after Juventus abandoned their pursuit of the midfielder.
And Mourinho, commenting on the transfer, noted that Matic was a player who understood exactly what was demanded of him in the Premier League.
“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 number 31.”
Louis van Gaal handed Bastian Schweinsteiger the 31 shirt back in 2015 and, well, it didn’t work out – mainly because the quickly fading German wasn’t suited to the fast, toxic nature of Premier League football.
Quite a contrast, then, with Mourinho’s No.31 – a midfield warrior blessed with not just Premiet League experience but title winning knowhow.
And this, I think, is the crucial difference between the two: Mourinho knows what it takes to mount an assault on the Premier League title and Matic’s arrival serves as a huge step in the right direction.