Football: Manchester United confirm $71m Matic deal

Midfielder Nemanja Matic celebrating Chelsea's Premier League title win last season. The Serbian international could make his United debut against Sampdoria in Dublin tomorrow in a friendly or in the Uefa Super Cup against Real Madrid next week.
Midfielder Nemanja Matic celebrating Chelsea's Premier League title win last season. The Serbian international could make his United debut against Sampdoria in Dublin tomorrow in a friendly or in the Uefa Super Cup against Real Madrid next week.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Serbian midfielder reunites with Mourinho at Old Trafford as Red Devils seal third summer signing

LONDON • Manchester United yesterday completed the purchase of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee, with an option to extend for a further year.

British media reports have reportedly put the transfer fee at £40 million (S$71 million).

Manager Jose Mourinho expressed his delight at signing the midfielder by telling United's website: "Nemanja is a United player and a Mourinho player. He represents everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition, 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. A big welcome to our new No. 31."

Matic's signing represents a significant boost to Mourinho after United failed in their efforts to purchase Eric Dier from Tottenham.

Juventus were also keen on Matic but the player, who will be 29 today, preferred a move to Old Trafford and a reunion with Mourinho, who was a key component of Chelsea's title-winning team in 2014-15 after being brought back to the club in January 2014.

Chelsea were particularly keen to drive a hard bargain with United after missing out to them over the signing of Romelu Lukaku.

Matic said: "I am delighted to have joined United. To work with Mourinho once again was an opportunity I couldn't turn down.

"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 team-mates and to start training.

"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 Stamford Bridge exit had long been expected after Chelsea manager Antonio Conte signed France's Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco in £39.7 million (S$70million) deal last month.

A picture circulated on United's official Twitter showed Matic in a Red Devils training kit and wearing No. 31, which had been vacant since the departure of German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Chelsea had left Matic out of their tour to Asia to allow him to finalise a move.

He becomes United's third signing of the close season following a £31 million deal for defender Victor Lindelof and the £75 million move for Lukaku from Everton.

The Serb could make his debut against Sampdoria in Dublin tomorrow or in the Uefa Super Cup against Real Madrid next week.

United will be without defender Phil Jones for their Super Cup game next Tuesday after Uefa banned him for two matches for insulting a doping control officer following May's Europa League final.

He was also fined fined €5,000 (S$7,955), an amount also imposed on team-mate Daley Blind for "violation and non-compliance" with an order to report to a doping control "immediately".

Jones will also miss United's first Champions League group stage match in September.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2017, with the headline 'United confirm $71m Matic deal'. Print Edition | Subscribe