On the Nemanja Matić Home Coming

100000578-153-634x435-1389833889516-crop1389833901845pAs a Chelsea FC supporter whenever you look at the club, you’ll find few things are abundant there, our passionate love for Chelsea and our midfield depth. We have considerably most densely packed midfield in the Europe and to raise most people’s eyebrow through their winter cap in this transfer season Jose and Co. have signed another promising (well he was always promising) player from our familiar hunting ground Portugal. As Chelsea have completed the first substantial transfer deal of this years January transfer window by completing a £21million pound move for Nemanja Matic.

The 25 year old Serbian international returns to Chelsea after spending 3 years in Portugal with Benfica.
Matic has signed a 5 and a half year deal after his former colleagues and coach wished him a good time at Stamford Bridge and both he and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho are very excited by the move.

“I am very happy for this opportunity. I just want to say I will give my best to help the team and make the Chelsea fans happy,” – Nemanja Matić

“He has grown as a player in Portugal and has become a fantastic all-round midfielder.” – Jose Mourinho

On the paper it’s look like another deal but take an inside view it’s nothing short of a fascination.

Though the football and Jose have long evolved since his first reign at Stamford Bridge from a basic 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 there is no denying the fact that conventional midfielders still play very important roles. And to be honest Chelsea are really lacking in this place. While we have the likes of holy trinity of Mata, Hazard, Oscar (Not followed by Jose though :/) and new faces like Schurrle and Wllian we are truly lacking a conventional midfielder who can initiate the attack. Jose had tried to play Ramires in this role and positioned him every here and there even in expense of benching Juan Mata but according to his playing style Ramires is a Box-to-Box player who can run and run and then lung bursting run again and Ramires really did well. Jose also tried Luiz to fulfill the midfield role in recent matches but he is inconsistent which can chill though Jose’s spine in form of his careless errors. Mikel’s inability to pass the ball vertically and our Bison is long out of his magic that left Jose with no option but to look at the transfer market.

But why Matic?

The answer is Matic is the right one for Chelsea and he comes in the right price range as well.

The Serb born midfielder has a blue history, which is a factor Jose is looking to build the core of Chelsea in years to come. Matic blossomed with regular playing time and makes great strides every game, capable of dominating a match defensively and providing a platform for the forwards to attack. In the summer of 2012, he assumed full control of Benfica’s midfield, and with Javi Garcia departed for Manchester City he immediately began showing Benfica fans why the Spaniard would never be missed. He trumps Garcia in almost every tangible way, boasting great height (6’4″), wonderful range, better agility and more energy to his game. While Jose likes his players to track the ball back and our fullbacks and the winger are trying their hearts out Matic can be that ever present figures in the middle of the field to stop opposition’s attack and initiate our own given his strong sense of positioning, he’s also is also mentally resilient.

Tough to get his service Chelsea needed to swallow some of their pride but could have been worse if Manchester United have singed last year’s Portugal’s player of the season as in rumors Manchester United were also interested in Matic.

He’s a tough, clean tackler and reads the game exceptionally well and also good in the air. He has an appropriate level of base speed and agility to cover the pitch sideline to sideline but spots danger very quickly, he’s proactive, not reactive.

In possession, he’s extremely reliable; he figured out his few faults on the ball quickly and has become an excellent distributor. It’s may be not mesmerizing like Hazard’s dribbling or Mata’s passing but that’s not his job.

For Chelsea, he walks into the side as the club’s No.1 defensive midfielder and this is a big step toward solving the club’s second-weakest area (behind forward). As now a days, Chelsea play a lot with the false nine in their formation so he can be the one always standing in the middle of field to command and to counter opposition’s counter attacking threat.

Given he is left-footed a partnership of Matic and Ramires/David Luiz looks to be perfectly balanced, allowing for midfield solidity and central, vertical drive and more option to Jose if he wants to switch bank to his formerly preferred 4-3-3. He’s got the discipline to succeed in Mourinho’s system and will enjoy playing at the heart of an elite midfield.

As he is only 25, his peak playing years are about to come. In fact, Matic may end up being Lampard’s long-term replacement; although he will never offer the same late runs into the box or goal scoring record of our Great Frank.

However embarrassing it may appear to buy a player after selling him 2 years ago given all his ability and the situation in Chelsea now he can be an absolute bargain.

~Riashat Rafat


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