The same image of Nemanja Matic wearing the Manchester United training shirt surfed the Internet on last Sunday; with the Serbian officially joining the Red Devils in a £40m deal from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
The 29-year-old will play under Jose Mourinho once again, with the pair already securing a Premier League title together at Chelsea back in the 2014-15 season.
The 6ft’4” towering presence played 35 games under Antonio Conte’s titling-winning Chelsea side, keeping out Cesc Fabregas from the starting line-up and getting a goal and eight assists to his name.
The move away from Stamford Bridge, despite winning two titles since returning from Benfica in January 2014, comes at the expense of new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of the standout players in AS Monaco’s team of young stars.
The 22-year-old Frenchman has signed a five year deal with The Blues and is expected to play alongside PFA Player of the Season, N’Golo Kante in Chelsea’s midfield, leaving Matic to be a third choice and backup option.
After being questioned by the press following United’s win over Valerenga, Mourinho admitted, “I’m waiting for news.”
“I know that he wants that very, very much and when a player wants very, very much the chance is bigger.”
Those comments suggested it is only a matter of time before the deal would be announced, and now that he is a Manchester United player, where does Matic fit in United’s XI?
Firstly, it seemed that Mourinho didn’t have the right fit in his desired holding-midfield role, with Paul Pogba a more box-to-box man and Marouane Fellaini not as useful defensively to be able to sit in front of the Red Devil defence.
Ander Herrera shone in United’s midfield last season in his role, influencing play from all over the pitch, meaning he too doesn’t suit the role of holding and sitting deep in midfield.
With this is mind, it seems clear that United will operate a three-man central midfield system, either playing in a 4-3-3 system or a 4-1-4-1, with Matic playing in the holding midfield role which he is so accustomed to.
The move is likely to benefit Herrera and Pogba, who will have a licence to attack more with less defensive responsibilities, whilst the Serb’s switch to Old Trafford takes the pressure off new captain Michael Carrick to play that role at 36 years old.
Going forward, the change in system would then allow new signing Romelu Lukaku to be supported either side by the likes of Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial.
The signing is another clear showing of intent to win the Premier League by Mourinho who himself will want to secure a title at United sooner rather than later. http://www.bettingpromotioncodes.com
Does Matic prove to be the final jigsaw piece in United’s puzzle?