Chelsea new boy Nemanja Matic has revealed how he almost ended up joining Middlesborough over the Blues.
The 25-year-old was playing for Slovakian club Kosice back in 2009 when he had the chance to join the Championship outfit, who were then plying their trade in the Premier League.
While he eventually went on to join Chelsea, Matic admits he was close to joining the Teeside club and his career taking a very different route.
“The club was okay, they were in the Premier League at that time with some good players like Stewart Downing and Robert Huth,” he told Chelsea's official magazine.
“I don’t know why it didn’t happen – I went to join up with the national team and the clubs were supposed to talk, but I never heard any more about it.
"Who knows what would have happened if I signed for Middlesbrough – would I be here today? All I know is that I am a Chelsea player now and very happy to be here.
“I am 25 and I hope the best years of my career are going to be here.”
The Serbian international left Stamford Bridge to join Benfica as part of the deal that saw David Luiz head in the opposite direction.
After three seasons in Portugal he has returned to Chelsea, having been lured back by Mourinho in a deal worth around €25 million.
Since returning he's been in impressive form, helping the Blues to the top of the Premier League table.