Chelsea veteran Frank Lampard has hailed the signing of Nemanja Matic ahead of this weekend’s clash against Fulham.
The Serbian international midfielder returned to Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window, three years after being sold to Benfica as part of the deal that saw David Luiz move to west London.
During his time away from the Blues, Matic appears to have matured into a top-quality central midfielder, and the 25-year-old on has certainly impressed Lampard on his return.
“He's been very good; he's improved, I think we knew that from playing against him in the Europa League final,” the England midfielder told the official Chelsea website.
"He's strong, good on the ball and he moves the ball quickly when he's on it. I think he's a great signing for us; he's only 25, which is the perfect age bracket for us.”
Lampard admits he knew the former Vitesse loanee had talent during his first spell with the club, but believes it was the right move to go and gain first-team experience away from Chelsea.
“I knew he had ability, at the time it was difficult for him because he couldn't get in the Chelsea team and, at the age he was, 21 or 22, it was probably the right move for him,” he added.
“He had a great two years at Benfica and he's come back as a strong acquisition for us. I think he's going to be a very good player for years to come.”
Lampard will be hoping for a chance to make his mark in this weekend’s derby, when the Blues make the short trip to Craven Cottage.
Manager Jose Mourinho has rotated the club’s record goalscorer this season however, and having featured in Champions League against Galatasaray, the Chelsea legend may have to settle for a place on the bench - possibly at the expense of Matic.