Scouting Manchester City Transfer Target and Former Chelsea Man Nemanja Matic

Phil KeidelContributor IIDecember 29, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 05:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona duels for the ball with Nemanja Matic of SL Benfica during the UEFA Champions League Group G match between FC Barcelona and SL Benfica at Nou Camp on December 5, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has plenty to feel good about as 2014 beckons.

Despite embarrassing pratfalls at Cardiff City, Aston Villa and Sunderland, half the Premier League season has passed and Manchester City are second in the table and just one slim point behind Arsenal.

Pellegrini has squired his team past several potential pitfalls. Defenders Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic missed time, and striker par excellence Sergio Aguero is out with a calf injury now.

Perhaps more troubling was keeper Joe Hart's temporary loss of form. None of the other title contenders in the Premier League played their reserve keeper seven times in the first half of the season, as Pellegrini did with Costel Pantilimon.

Even with all of that, there are Manchester City, ahead of Liverpool, Everton and even Chelsea.

So you will have to excuse Pellegrini if he feels like big moves in the January transfer window are the purview of lesser sides.

Per Simon Mullock's report in the Mirror, "City’s Abu Dhabi-based owners were ready to bankroll a move into the winter market to help Pellegrini (but) the Blues' boss made it clear that he is happy with the strength and depth of his squad."

Specifically, Pellegrini reportedly told City's brass that a £33 million move for defender Eliaquim Mangala could wait.

However, as Pellegrini's recent grousing over the congested holiday schedule illustrated, a team with City's aspirations can never have enough able bodies.

Adding a big body like Matic could mean more needed rest for Toure.
Adding a big body like Matic could mean more needed rest for Toure.Clive Rose/Getty Images

Which is why midfield ace Nemanja Matic could find his way to the Etihad in January.

Ben Burrows of the Mirror had the word on Matic and the Sky Blues: "If (Pellegrini) does decide to wade into the market Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic could be his man. With Javi Garcia failing to justify his £20 million plus transfer fee, the former Chelsea player could be the ideal replacement."

As recounted by the Mirror's John Cross, "Matic left Stamford Bridge for Benfica in 2011 as part of the deal which took David Luiz in the opposite direction."

With Benfica in the Portuguese Liga this season, Matic has started all 13 games he has appeared in and played the vast majority of the available minutes (1,144 of a possible 1,170 per Matic has also scored twice this season.

Matic's Chelsea stint was a cup of coffee—41 minutes in two appearances as a substitute in 2009/10.

Pellegrini's interest in Matic is probably due as much to the midfielder's towering stature as anything else. The Sky Blues have several midges (David Silva, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas) flitting about in the midfield. At 6'4", Matic would provide the physical presence Manchester City miss when Yaya Toure sits.

Like pitchers in baseball and big men in basketball, you really never can have too many good midfielders.