Manchester United again linked with former Chelsea midfielder with €45 million release clause

Nemanja Matic

A report in Portugal has named Manchester United as a suitor for a midfielder who once belonged to Chelsea.

Manchester United already have one Nemanja, but could they sign another - an international colleague of Vidic?

The player concerned is Nemanja Matic, a 24-year-old defensive midfielder who plays for Benfica, alongside fellow Red Devils target Ezequiel Garay.

Matic may not be a name who jumps out when you think about former Chelsea midfielders, and the reason is simple - he made just two substitute Premier League appearances for them back in 2009/10.

He was transferred to Benfica as part of the deal which brought David Luiz to Chelsea in 2011, as barely a footnote in the excitement of capturing the Brazilian, but now he is worth mega-money.

Matic has been majorly impressive for Benfica this season and has a release clause written into his contract at 45 million Euros. 

Now his performances have been attracting Juventus, who Portuguese newspaper A Bola report would like to sign the Serbian midfielder, but given the talent of Vidal and Pogba at their disposal do not want to pay anywhere near his release clause.

In addition to reporting Juventus' interest, the newspaper has re-affirmed their report from last week that Manchester United are keen on the player.

"The Bianconeri were determined not to spend more than $ 10 million for the player, among others courted by Manchester United, under contract with Benfica until June 2018."

So how would Matic fit in at United? 

Well one thing is certain and has been proven this season, and it is that the club appear unlikely to be able to rely upon Darren Fletcher as a regular first team performer due to being struck down with illness for a second successive season.

Phil Jones is another in the mould of a 'midfield destroyer' - But as shown by him being picked at centre-back against Manchester City on Monday, it is likely that is where his long-term future lies.

This leaves Michael Carrick as United's only real defensive midfielder, but he is a completely different player to Matic, and one who would benefit from having the Serb alongside him because he would be freed up to be more creative.

The issue here, is one of price - and it is this which makes United signing Matic unlikely. Benfica would likely accept an offer at half the price of his release clause, but that is still twice what Juventus are prepared to offer.

The chances of United doubling Juventus' offer are slim, especially when there are cheaper alternatives on the market such as Victor Wanyama.

It makes you wonder whether the Portuguese press are simply throwing us all a swerve from the recent Garay talk, and what's behind it all. While from a playing perspective Matic would be an asset to United - From a simply financial one, it does not make any sense and therefore is unlikely to come off.

Unless they know something we do not...

How much is Matic worth? Do United need a player like him? Who should they turn to instead? 

images: © Crystian Cruz, © Yoca91

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