Nemanja Matic’s move to Manchester United must be considered one of the most surprising of the summer.
Despite featuring 35 times in Chelsea’s run to the title last season, the Blues relinquished the first team regular to a Premier League title rival. Even Jose Mourinho himself was shocked that the deal went through.
Damningly for Chelsea too, the move has terribly backfired thus far. Matic started life at Old Trafford with a Man of the Match performance against West Ham, dictating the play in an emphatic 4-0 win.
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Meanwhile, his old side were downed 3-2 by Burnley in an ignominious start to their title defence. It certainly loads the pressure on Tiemoue Bakayoko’s shoulders with the French replacement working towards match fitness.
All that considered, it’s not difficult to imagine that Chelsea fans would want an explanation for what must be seen as a critical mistake in the waiting.
Depending on whose view you subscribe to, Matic’s exit can be viewed as a concessional gift for time served or simply a reaction to Bakyoko’s arrival. It’s also perceivable that United were the only side proposing as much as £40 million.
However, the Telegraph’s Jason Burt has offered a bleaker theory on the fateful transfer. He posted the following tweet to explain his findings:
It’s certainly not music to the ears of Chelsea fans, especially considering the current Diego Costa situation. If Burt is to believed, it means Conte’s dislike for certain players has resulted in a United switch and a Brazilian exile already.
It goes without saying that these were two common fixtures in last season’s starting XI too, one of which proving the top scorer.
Surprisingly, though, the Blues’ saving grace has arrived in the form of Gary Neville who was quick to throw water on Burt’s claims. He posted a hilariously simple reply:
Neville, who has had his fair share of arguments with journalists, was quick to fight his corner. The following, remarkable Twitter conversation broke out:
Love him or hate him, it seems that Neville won this fight – at least for now. The Manchester United legend does, after all, offer the more plausible theory that Conte lamented the move.
For the Italian’s sake, you’d like to hope so with the ex-Juventus boss coming under a surprising amount of pressure already this season. He’ll be all too aware of the recent fates of Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti at the club.
And if nothing else but in response to the Matic situation, Conte better hope that Chelsea finish ahead of United this season. Bakayoko better hit the ground running, that’s for sure.
Who would you rather have in your team - Matic or Bakayoko? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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