When Chelsea allowed Nemanja Matic to leave in 2011 as part of the David Luiz deal we are pretty sure that they never expected to be quoted £40 million to buy him back just two years later.
But that is the situation they find themselves in. The Serbian international midfielder, nicknamed ‘The Spider’, has come on leaps and bounds since then and become one of Europe’s most hotly pursued talents.
Chelsea are not alone in looking at the 25-year-old as Manchester United are also being mentioned as an interested party- as are Italian side Napoli and more tentatively, Liverpool. Now while nobody is willing to spend the astronomical release clause of €50 million the Lisbon side somehow got written into his current deal - upwards of £20 million does not seem to be beyond the realms of possibility
Matic recently added goals to his game - bagging in consecutive games against SC Braga and Anderlecht as his star continues to rise.
It was even confirmed this week by his, and Jose Mourinho’s agent, that Chelsea were looking into bringing him back to London this winter.
But all these interested parties have just received some bad news - as they have formidable opposition.
AS Monaco were linked with his signature in July and it seems that interest has not waned - with rumours of a €25 million bid in January doing the rounds.
Reports in Italy suggest that the Ligue 1 side are willing to stump up the asking price for the talented giant - and we all know they can afford it.
The Monegasque side, managed by former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri, are now bankrolled by Dimitry Rybolovlev, and the Russian billionaire has already stumped up for the likes of James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho and Radamel Falcao - so bringing in Matic would be no sweat off his back.
Monaco have tailed off in their pursuit of the Ligue 1 title recently, and despite already having the likes of Moutinho, Jeremy Toulalan and Geoffrey Kondogbia who can play the Matic role - he is still a target.
It is easy to take Monaco’s interest, what with their vast and ever expanding wealth, with a pinch of salt as their name does get thrown in the ring at random these days.
But if that interest becomes concrete - Chelsea or Manchester United would have a lot of trouble convincing him to come their way.
image: © john1710