When Chelsea bought David Luiz from Benfica in January 2011, part of the arrangement saw them throw in young Serbian midfield destroyer Nemanja Matic in exchange. Matic had been signed after starring in Serbia and then went on to have a dominant loan spell in Holland with Vitesse Arnhem, which clearly caught Benfica’s eye. The deal for David Luiz was done on January 31st, so perhaps they threw Matic in without fully thinking it through. Perhaps the rush of the approaching deadline saw them make a decision they may not have done if they’d had more time. Two and half years later and Chelsea are suddenly short of a destroying midfielder who can impose himself on to the opposition. They’ve gone back to Benfica and been quoted £38m for him. It’s clearly an incredible amount and despite his obvious quality it’s unjustifiable.
Chelsea are being punished for a poor decision but signing him for £38m would make that pale in comparison. At 6’4′ Matic is a big physical presence, imposing himself like Yaya Toure. He strides long and covers a massive amount of ground. He’s a top quality player and would make for an excellent addition to Chelsea who are thoroughly lacking a dominator in midfield. Mikel hasn’t become what he was supposed to and there is no one else with physical presence. Ramires runs hard, Lampard is intelligent but neither are like Matic. However, he is the type of player you can’t justify spending huge money on.
Midfield destroyers just aren’t valuable enough to pay huge money on. Chelsea would probably be over paying at £20m, never mind £38m. At that price he’d be more than Sergio Aguero cost Man City. The destroyer role is an important one but not to pay that much for.
The big mistake was giving him away in the first place. They rated him very highly, so much so that he’d already seen first team action at Chelsea. His type is very hard to find, and to find one cheaply and then give him away was a terrible mistake. Chelsea had their long-term solution in house but gave him away as they were scrambling to improve late in January. This is a prime example of why doing business in January is so risky.
But, Chelsea just have to bare their mistake. Paying £38m to rectify it would be insanity. What it essentially means, is that adding on the £24m they gave Benfica, they would have paid them £64m for David Luiz. Paying £38m for Matic would make David Luiz the third most expensive player of all time. When you also consider that Luiz is being talked about as possibly moving to Barcelona for around £30-35m it looks even worse.
Matic is an excellent young player. He has the ideal build to be a massive presence in the Chelsea midfield. Ideal for the Premier League. This is exactly why Chelsea signed him in the first place, and they should have kept patient with a player who was obviously highly rated internally and probably on his way towards the first team. They made a mistake giving him away but to compound that by buying him back at such an incredible amount would be terrible business.