Thursday 19 October 2017

Gary Neville calls Nemanja Matic's move to Man United a 'strange' decision from Chelsea

Nemanja Matic
Nemanja Matic

Callum Davis

Gary Neville has described Chelsea's decision to let Nemanja Matic join a direct rival as 'strange'.

Matic completed a £40m move to Manchester United from Chelsea after undergoing his medical on Sunday afternoon.

Despite playing an integral role in Chelsea's second Premier League title in three years, Matic was given personal permission to join United by Roman Abramovich.

“It’s a strange one for Chelsea to let him go because I thought he was good for them with Kante and I think they need to strengthen," said Neville in an interview with Sky Sports.

"So I'm not quite sure why they're letting him go but they must have replacements lined up.

"United need a holding midfield player. Schneiderlien was let go, Schweinsteiger didn't get a game and so they need a replacement in there and Matic fits the bill.

"Michael Carrick can't play every single week so they need a player that can come in and do the same job as Carrick and Matic can do that."

The move reunites Matic with his former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, under whom he won a Premier League title in 2015.

"Nemanja is a Manchester United player and a Jose Mourinho player. He represents everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition, team player," said Mourinho in an interview with MUTV.

"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."

In 2015 Abramovich rewarded Petr Cech for his service to Chelsea by personally sanctioning the goalkeeper's move to Arsenal, a decision then manager Jose Mourinho objected to.

Chelsea have already acquired Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco for £40m but Antonio Conte is understood to be keen on reinforcing his options in midfield.

Conte has also been linked with moves for Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bayern Munich's Renato Sanches and Everton's Ross Barkley in recent weeks.

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