Chelsea's January transfer window has gotten off to a glitzy start, with Nemanja Matic set to be unveiled as the club's first winter signing and a £20.7 million move ready to be announced.
Sky Sports' Pete O'Rourke confirmed that a medical is due on Tuesday:
Nemanja Matic has arrived in London to undergo a medical ahead of sealing his move to Chelsea. #CFC— Pete O'Rourke (@SkySportsPeteO) January 14, 2014
That's according to Portuguese newspaper A Bola (h/t Goal.com's Wayne Veysey), who quote the former Blues midfielder as saying that he's played his last game for Benfica, a 2-0 win over bitter rivals Porto on Sunday:
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. I have always given my best for the team, the club and the supporters. I hope you recognise that and understand my position and my desire.
From a business perspective, it's a questionable deal considering the player left Chelsea in 2011 as part of the transfer that saw David Luiz arrive in West London.
However, in terms of squad requirements and what Matic brings to Jose Mourinho's squad, it's simple to see why the funds were set aside.
Since moving to Lisbon, the Serbian anchor has flourished with a speed that the Blues may well have witnessed first-hand had they been more willing to hand Matic more first-team experience.
Regardless, the only thing that that the Premier League giants will consider important is that he's close to a return and his skill set is precisely what they need.
Veysey adds that Matic is likely to start against Manchester United this coming Sunday:
Matic is expected to slot straight into the Chelsea squad for Sunday's match v Man United.— Wayne Veysey (@wayneveysey) January 14, 2014
When speaking of Chelsea's midfield in recent seasons, talk often turns toward the conundrum of what to do once Frank Lampard retires, a bastion of the side for some 13 years now.
Is Matic worth bringing back to Stamford Bridge?
While Matic isn't a like-for-like replacement, his arrival does, however, give Mourinho the option to tinker with those around the new arrival, who brings a reliable presence the likes of which Chelsea haven't boasted for some time.
Some seasons ago, John Obi Mikel might have been tipped to form the crux of the club's engine room, but the Nigerian international hasn't grown as the balanced force that Matic has in recent years.
Back at Stamford Bridge, the 25-year-old is now likely to be tried out as part of a midfield tandem alongside Ramires, a double threat of antagonistic qualities that could work to great effect.
Matic's main priorities lie in breaking up play, as Ramires himself is capable of, but by relieving others of those duties and taking more of the responsibility himself, Matic gives Mourinho something of a specialist.
His first run at the Blues' first team didn't go to plan, but the impending second excursion promises to pay dividends and Chelsea will reap the rewards as a result.