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Manchester United's Nemanja Matic Praises Antonio Conte Amid Inter Rumours

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2019

Nemanja Matic of Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League group L match between Manchester United and AZ Alkmaar at at Old Trafford on December 12, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom(Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)
ANP Sport/Getty Images

Nemanja Matic has praised Antonio Conte after the Manchester United midfielder was reportedly linked with a move to Inter Milan

Speaking to Italian outlet Tuttosport (h/t Dominic Booth of the Manchester Evening News), Matic said his former Chelsea boss is one of the greatest managers on the planet and he expects him to be a huge success at the San Siro.

"He is crazy about football. He works 24 hours a day, analyses their players and opponents to the fullest. Tactically he is certainly one of the best in the world.

"At the physical level he makes his team run at the same levels for 95 minutes. A professional, one of the best in the world. "I'm sure he'll make it at Inter. He deserves it."

Matic joined United after being lured by former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho in 2017, but the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 12 months ago has seen the Red Devils play a more counter-attacking style. The progression of Scott McTominay has contributed towards Matic falling down the pecking order, and the 31-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: Antonio Conte, Manager of Chelsea (C) embrace Nemanja Matic of Chelsea (R) after the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at White Hart Lane on January 4, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finne
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Mike McGrath of the Telegraph reported United can trigger an additional year as an option in Matic's deal, but a bid from Inter in January could see them sell the player to Conte. The former Juventus manager already has recruited Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez from Old Trafford, and could now add a third Red Devil to his team.

The emerging form of Fred this season has given Solskjaer a fresh central midfield option after a slow start at United for the Brazilian.

Paul Pogba is also close to full fitness, and Matic could struggle to make the bench once everyone is fit.

Matic was perfect for Mourinho's defensive tactics during the Portuguese's United tenure, repeating the screening midfield role he occupied at Stamford Bridge. However, with United now favouring a transitional style, and with McTominay an all-action presence in the centre, Matic is unsuitable for the starting XI.

A move to Italy could suit the player, and the slower pace of Serie A would give Matic additional time on the ball. Inter have struggled with injuries in midfield this season, and Conte is fully aware of the experience and positives the Serb brings with him.