Chelsea target Nemanja Matic has revealed he will leave Benfica in order to join the Stamford Bridge club.
Updates from Wednesday, Jan. 15
Sky Sports News reports Matic has arrived at Chelsea:
Sky sources: Nemanja Matic arrives at Chelsea training ground to complete paperwork ahead of transfer #SSN— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) January 15, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, Jan. 14
As reported by A Bola via Goal.com's Wayne Veysey, Matic is set for a potential £20.7 million return to Chelsea, after admitting he has played his last game for Benfica:
Yes, it was my last game.
I want to thank all the people at the club and all the supporters. Benfica will be forever in my heart. I played here two and a half years, I gave my best in every practice, every game, and now is the right time to leave.
I want to improve, I want to go to a better league and want to go to Chelsea, the club which I also like.
---End of update---
Dominic Fifield of The Guardian expects major developments surrounding the deal on Tuesday:
Chelsea are to re-sign Nemanja Matic for an eye-catching fee of around £22m, a vastly inflated price from the valuation attached to the Serbia midfielder when he was allowed to leave and join Benfica three years ago.
Matic is due at Cobham on Tuesday to undertake a medical with the clubs close to agreeing a price for the 25-year-old, who has been capped nine times.
Matic, who left Chelsea as part of the deal that saw David Luiz come to England in 2011, looks to have landed a second shot at life in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old midfielder, who has become a key player at the Estadio da Luz, is expected to increase the stability of Jose Mourinho's squad by taking on a defensive role in the Blues' midfield.
Ironically, his arrival may see the game time of Luiz—who has featured in this position across the last year—dramatically cut.
Will Nemanja Matic significantly improve Chelsea's midfield?
He will also add to the somewhat crowded numbers in the Chelsea squad—but with Kevin De Bruyne on the verge of signing for Wolfsburg, per Ben Smith of BBC Sport—Mourinho will be pleased to replace one of his unneeded creative players for an individual with physical qualities.
Matic has made 20 appearances across Liga Sagres and the Champions League this season, scoring three goals in the process, per WhoScored.com. He averages 2.7 tackles per game, 1.7 interceptions, 1.7 fouls and has a pass success rate of 83.2 percent for the Eagles.
Standing at 6'4", Matic's appearance in the Chelsea midfield will certainly strengthen the team's sense of imposing physicality. While John Obi Mikel, Luiz and Ramires are decent at keeping things ticking over, Matic has the potential to become a Yaya Toure-styled figure for the West London club.
Also capable of scoring important goals, Matic was invited to the 2013 Ballon d'Or ceremony after his fantastic strike against Porto was nominated for the Puskas Award, per Paul Hayward of the Daily Telegraph:
Here in Zurich, Nemanja Matic (Chelsea target) is up for goal of the year for this beauty http://t.co/Q5qCIXb4Xt— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) January 13, 2014
Although Zlatan Ibrahimovic's ridiculous overhead kick against England took the prize, Matic's ability to contribute offensively will be welcomed by all at Stamford Bridge.
It appears the player's reappearance in a Chelsea shirt is only a matter of time, and it must be said, Mourinho's title credentials appear significantly strengthened if the club can negotiate a deal with Benfica before the conclusion of the January transfer window.