Central-midfield has always been a position that has worried me and it seems more evident this year than others. The legendary legs of Lampard can’t go on forever and Essien hasn’t been the same since his first serious injury in 2008. Although Mikel seems to split opinion, Jose as well as myself are fans. He’s underrated and overlooked by many, his discipline and cover is essential in bringing a well rounded balance to the team. However, this being said, I’m often disappointed with his reluctance to play an expansive or penetrating pass and is usually slow in releasing the ball. So this leaves an opportunity for a suitable player to partner the ever reliable work horse that is Ramires.
Up step Nemanja Matić a powerful well rounded central-midfielder. A familiar name to Chelsea fans, a former blue. With him only making 3 appearances in his two years at the club (a year out on loan at Vitesse) he was subsequently used as a makeweight in the David Luiz deal which was worth £21 Million, the same amount that Matic is now reportedly worth which means, in theory anyway, that David Luiz cost Chelsea £42 Million (good math from me). He was voted the best player in the Primeira Liga last season and was also among the final three nominees alongside Neymar and Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the Puskas award for the best goal of 2013 for his stunning volley against FC Porto, if you are yet to see this goal (here’s a link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWpwImjHMTE) his technique is breathtaking.
So what can Nemanja Matić add to Chelsea’s already bulging midfield? With all our central midfield options we are yet to obtain a world class passer, someone who can dictate the tempo of the game and make the transition between defence and attack much quicker with sharp passing, something that Matić does with ease. The aspect of Matić’s play that impresses me the most is his willingness to play a pass that is of high difficulty and passing the ball backwards is always his last option rather than first, something Mikel is guilty of at times. His aerial ability is a huge benefit in both attack and defence. An underrated aspect in a holding midfielder, with it being vitally important to win the aerial duals in the middle of the pitch.
His style of play reminds me very much of Xabi Alonso, they both rely on the speed of their brain rather than their legs. Both shield the back four with great success and have a quarter-back like role in teams. By no means am I saying that Matić is as good as or will be as good as Alonso, it’s merely a reference to support a point. Although I’m sure all Chelsea fans will agree that if the Serb goes on to be half the player Alonso has proven to be, we will have a fine player on our hands.
The sale and profit of fringe player Kevin De Bruyne means that this Matić deal pays for itself, what a great bit of business that is. Perhaps the only negative is that Matić will be cup-tied for this seasons Champions League, in turn you could make the best of a bad situation and say he will be fresher for our title challenge and FA Cup run. I for one am very excited about the second coming of rejuvenated Nemanja Matić, I believe he is the penultimate piece of Mourinho’s puzzle, the final piece being the signing of Rooney in the summer. I’d very much like to hear from fellow fans, is Matić a realistic and suitable choice or if it was your decision, how would you use the De Bruyne money?
Jack Nyren @jacknyren123