Chelsea Transfer Rumours: Nemanja Matic Must Be Prioritised over Fredy Guarin

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 22, 2013

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MAY 14:  Nemanja Matic of Benfica looks on during an SL Benfica training session ahead of the UEFA Europa League Final match against Chelsea at the Amsterdam Arena on May 14, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Recent reports have suggested that Chelsea are closing in on a deal for Inter's Fredy Guarin, Jose Mourinho seeing the Colombian international as the steel his side need in their engine room.

However, the Blues shouldn't be so hasty in moving for the box-to-box presence when there's other, more suitable options on the table, namely Nemanja Matic.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MAY 15: Oscar of Chelsea and Nemanja Matic of Benfica compete for the ball during the UEFA Europa League Final between SL Benfica and Chelsea FC at Amsterdam Arena on May 15, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Jamie McDona
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

As was reported by the Mirror's Liam Prenderville earlier this week, Guarin's agent has revealed that his client is edging closer to West London, saying:

We have already been to London with Inter and met with Chelsea directors to make their interest formal.

If both clubs reach an agreement, a transfer is an option, but Fredy is happy at Inter as well if they don't agree terms.

Having failed to assert himself during an 18-month stay at Stamford Bridge between August 2009 and January 2011, one might understand how Matic could be apprehensive about a return to the Premier League giants.

However, should the Serbian be convinced that a second tenure would work out for the better, his talents would be of superior value to Guarin's.

TalkSPORT recently sized the two transfer targets up alongside one another (as well as Tottenham's Paulinho), and while Guarin may provide a more rounded approach than his Benfica counterpart, Chelsea should be looking to sign a master of the craft.

Back in July, Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke reported Benfica as saying that it would be "impossible" to keep their player around:

In Ramires, the Blues already have something of a jack-of-all-trades, and it appears that John Obi Mikel is no longer being trusted with the responsibilities as Mourinho's deep-lying anchor, having made just 10 starts across all competitions this term.

At Benfica, Matic has been permitted to evolve as the gem of his side, as opposed to pouncing on the scraps lumped in his direction during a previous stint with Chelsea.

That being said, one very important aspect in any potential deal will be how to finance it, Ben Jefferson of the Express reporting back in November of Matic's £40 million release clause.

Granted, the Portuguese giants may be willing to sell their star for less, but it's unknown as to how much more expensive the midfield general would be than Guarin, currently touted as a £15 million purchase.

Fortunately for Chelsea, paving the way for big-money moves has proven to be among the club's strong points under the ownership of Roman Abramovich, and the cost of January's midfield recruit(s) will likely relay how intent the club are on solving their midfield issues.

Expensive though Matic may be, the 25-year-old could be worth the outlay, although Mourinho's side will undoubtedly kick themselves for having let him leave in the first place.