What Nemanja Matic Will Bring to Chelsea Following January Transfer

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJanuary 15, 2014

NAPLES, ITALY - AUGUST 09:  Nemanja Matic of Benfca in action during the pre-season friendly match between SSC Napoli and SL Benfica at Stadio San Paolo on August 9, 2013 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

According to the BBC, Nemanja Matic is set for a medical with Chelsea football club ahead of a £22 million move from Benfica.

He was pictured last night arriving at a London airport and, subsequently, at a hotel near the ground, affirming wild speculation that the Serbian was all set to ink a second deal with the club.

Casual fans will be confused by the deal: it's the same player the Blues sent to Benfica as part of the mega David Luiz deal, and his value, back then, was around €3 million. Now, Jose Mourinho is buying him back for 10 times that, so what gives?

Rapid, perhaps unforeseeable progression has elevated Matic to near world-class status as a defensive midfielder in just two short years.

He's blossomed with regular playing time and makes great strides every game, capable of dominating a match defensively and providing a platform for the forwards to attack.

In the summer of 2012, he assumed full control of Benfica's midfield, and with Javi Garcia sold to Manchester City, he immediately began showing Benfiquista why the Spaniard would never be missed.

He trumps Garcia in almost every tangible way, boasting great height (6'4"), wonderful range, better agility and more energy to his game.

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Those tuning in to Premier League matches weekly won't believe this to be a feat considering how sub-par Garcia has been for City, but in the Liga Sagres, he showed enough to convince Roberto Mancini to spend £15 million on him. Matic has shown to be better.

He's a tough, clean tackler and reads the game exceptionally well. He has an appropriate level of base speed and agility to cover the pitch sideline to sideline but spots danger in a fashion Per Mertesacker does, too; He's proactive, not reactive.

In possession, he's extremely reliable, ironed out his few faults on the ball quickly and has become an excellent distributor. It's not fancy, but that's not his job.

For Chelsea, he walks into the side as the club's No. 1 defensive midfielder. John Obi Mikel doesn't boast the top-end talent Matic does in any area of the game, and this is a big step toward solving the club's second-weakest area (behind forward).

A partnership of Matic and Ramires/David Luiz looks to be perfectly balanced, allowing for midfield solidity and central, vertical drive. Matic plus Frank Lampard or Mikel will not work quite as well.

He's got the discipline to succeed in Mourinho's system and will enjoy playing at the heart of an elite midfield. If you're looking for a Premier League comparison, look no further than the snappy nature of Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin.

Chelsea fans will be hoping the Serbian emulates the success of fellow January arrival Branislav Ivanovic in 2008. We can't say whether he will yet, but we can say £22 million is a steal.


Pictures from Gianluca Di Marzio.