Thursday 20 June 2019

Frank Lampard - Why Chelsea may have been forced to sell Nemanja Matic to Manchester United

Nemanja Matic sealed a surprise move from Chelsea to Manchester United last month
Nemanja Matic sealed a surprise move from Chelsea to Manchester United last month
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard believes his old club may have been forced into selling midfielder Nemanja Matic to Manchester United this summer and admits the sale was a hammer blow for the Premier League champions.

In an interview with Yahoo Sport, Lampard backed up the rumours that Matic asked to leave Chelsea as he suggested the Serbian midfielder was the driving force behind the move to Old Trafford.

“I was surprised to see him move to United and maybe there is more to this deal that we realise,” said new BT Sport pundit Lampard.

“I heard whispers at the back end of last season that he wanted to go and even if the club cannot come out and say too much about that, maybe there was an element of that in play here when this deal went through.

“You get the feeling that Chelsea didn’t really want Matic to go, but players can push for a move at times and that is why this deal feels different compared to Petr Cech’s move from Chelsea to Arsenal a couple of years back.

“Petr had done such a lot for the club, Thibaut Courtois had come in and it would have been harsh to stop him moving to Arsenal when he was so settled in London, but this is different.

“Matic was a big player for Chelsea last season and even though they have sign players to replace him, he is going to be missed and possibly just as significantly, he strengthens Manchester United, there is no doubt about that.”

Lampard believes Matic will help to transform United into Premier League title contenders this season, as he suggested Paul Pogba may be the biggest winner from the arrival of a new holding midfielder who will give him more freedom to get forward.

“This is a guy with a huge amount of talent, that is undisputed," added Lampard.

"It is just how he uses that talent in the team. He needs this year to kick on and Matic arriving at the club has to help him. Maybe now Pogba will have more freedom to get forward and people will expect to see goals and assists from him on a regular basis now in the big games.

“There can be no excuses now, this is his second season and he has to produce it now.”

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