Jose happy to bag ‘Mour­inho player’ Matic

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — Ser­bia in­ter­na­tional mid­fielder Ne­manja Matic signed for Manch­ester United on Mon­day from Pre­mier League cham­pion Chelsea, the buy­ing club an­nounced, for a re­ported fee of around $53 mil­lion.

It is the sec­ond time United man­ager Jose Mour­inho has in­vested in the 28-yearold’s tal­ents hav­ing brought him back to Chelsea in 2014 after a suc­cess­ful spell with Ben­fica.

Matic signed a three-year con­tract with United with the op­tion to ex­tend it by a year.

“Ne­manja is a Manch­ester United player and a Jose Mour­inho player,” Mour­inho told United’s web­site.

“He rep­re­sents ev­ery­thing we want in a foot­baller: loy­alty, con­sis­tency, am­bi­tion, a team player.

“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.”

Matic played just 65 min­utes for Chelsea in his first pe­riod at Stam­ford Bridge be­fore head­ing to Ben­fica to 2011 in the same deal that saw de­fender David Luiz ar­rive in west Lon­don from the Lis­bon club.

He said Mour­inho’s pres­ence at United made the switch an easy de­ci­sion.

“I am de­lighted to have joined Manch­ester United. To work with Jose Mour­inho once again was an op­por­tu­nity I couldn’t turn down,” he said.

“I have en­joyed my time at Chelsea and would like to thank the club and the fans for their sup­port. I can­not wait to meet my new team­mates and start train­ing with them.

“This is a very ex­cit­ing time for the club and I am look­ing forward to play­ing my part in cre­at­ing more history for this great club.”

Matic’s ar­rival takes Mour­inho’s spend­ing to al­most $200 mil­lion in the off­sea­son hav­ing out­laid $41 mil­lion for Swedish de­fender Vic­tor Lin­de­lof from Ben­fica and $100 mil­lion on Bel­gium in­ter­na­tional striker Romelu Lukaku from Ever­ton — though that could rise to $120 mil­lion with add-ons.

Iron­i­cally, Lukaku’s deal al­most put a spike in Matic’s trans­fer to United as Chelsea had ear­marked the striker as its No 1 tar­get and was not pleased when he was snatched from un­der­neath it.

At one point it was thought the Ser­bian, who had found life in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult at Stam­ford Bridge com­pet­ing with French star N’Golo Kante for a spot in cen­tral mid­field, would end up at Ju­ven­tus in­stead.

How­ever, once United was quoted $66 mil­lion for Eng­land de­fen­sive mid­fielder Eric Dier by Tot­ten­ham it switched its at­ten­tions back to Matic and the Blues re­lented.

Matic en­joyed a far hap­pier sec­ond spell at Chelsea than his first one, win­ning

This is a very ex­cit­ing time for the club and I am look­ing forward to play­ing my part in cre­at­ing more history for this great club.

the Pre­mier League ti­tle twice and, while never a pro­lific scorer, tal­ly­ing one of the goals in last sea­son’s FA Cup semi­fi­nal win over Spurs at Wem­b­ley.

In all he scored seven times in 154 ap­pear­ances for Chelsea.

“The Ser­bian de­parts Stam­ford Bridge hav­ing played a piv­otal role in two ti­tle tri­umphs, as well as win­ning the League Cup with the Blues,” said Chelsea in a long farewell state­ment.

“These tro­phies all came in his sec­ond spell at the club, after re­join­ing Chelsea in early 2014 to add steel and strength to the mid­field. We thank Ne­manja for his fan­tas­tic ser­vice and wish him well for the fu­ture.”

Mour­inho’s spend­ing may not be over yet as he is known to cher­ish In­ter Mi­lan’s Croa­t­ian at­tacker Ivan Perisic.

United, though, has balked at In­ter's ini­tial de­mand of $64 mil­lion for the 28-year-old, al­though it hopes the Serie A side might lower the price.

Ne­manja Matic in ac­tion for Chelsea

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