When Chelsea paid £21 million to re-sign Nemanja Matic from Benfica in 2014, I initially felt it was a dumb deal, but the Serbian midfielder has since become one of Chelsea’s best players ever since. He was key to Chelsea winning the Premier League title under Jose Mourinho in 2014-15. Then the signing of N’Golo Kante last summer helped Matic improve even further. However, it now looks as though the 28-year-old could be on his way out of Stamford bridge this summer, according to reports.
The story so far
Mundo Deportivo (as reported in English by the Daily Star) reckon that Barcelona are interested in Matic and could come in for him this summer. The Catalans’ first choice target remains Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti, but should they not get the Italian, they will reportedly make a move for Matic. Chelsea will most-likely be reluctant to sell, but when either Barca or Real Madrid want a player, they more often than not get what they want. The player himself may also find it difficult to refuse the opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Sergio Busquets has struggled for form in the Barcelona team of late. The Spanish midfielder doesn’t look like a player that can be relied upon any more, and Andre Gomes, who was bought last summer, probably as a long-term replacement for Busquets, hasn’t lived up to expectations.
Chelsea fans will be praying Barcelona succeed in their attempts to sign Marco Verratti, but I sincerely doubt PSG will be selling the Italian to the Spanish giants – at least not this summer. The French club are building a team that can compete for the UEFA Champions League and Verratti is certainly an important player for them.
Who can Chelsea buy to replace Matic?
Should Matic eventually leave, I would like Chelsea to go for AS Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko. The Frenchman is just 22 and will be a perfect replacement for Matic. He could form a wonderful partnership with Kante in Chelsea’s midfield. Though he would not be easy to sign as many other clubs are likely to be interested in him, and Monaco won’t want to let one of their best players go unless a substantial offer is received.
Judging by how well Bakayoko and his teammates have performed so far this season, and how inflated the transfer market is, it would not be a surprise if Monaco want as much as £50 million for one of their stars.
Which clubs are likely to be interested in Bakayoko?
Arsenal could do with the signing of Bakayoko, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they go in for him over the summer. Manchester City could also be interested, especially as Yaya Toure is coming to the end of his career. And Liverpool are also in need of an upgrade in the defensive midfield role.