£40m superstar that left for free is Manchester United's 'Matic moment'

As Chelsea re-sign Nemanja Matic for a fee in the region of £21 million we look at which player Manchester United might regret letting go.

Today will see Chelsea splash out around £21 million on the type of player they thoroughly need. A box-to-box midfield player both technically gifted and strong in the tackle - he is the perfect player for 'the Jose Mourinho' philosophy.

Like Costinha, Claude Makelele, Esteban Cambiasso or Sami Khedira before - Mourinho always has one unfashionable player among his midfield - there to provide the canvas for the artists ahead of him.

But that player is Nemanja Matic - who they let go as part of a swap deal just three years ago.

But if the other big teams in the Premier League had a ‘Matic Moment’ … who would it be?

Who would Manchester United spend big on now, that they let go so cheaply years ago?

There are a few at United. There is Gerard Pique of Barcelona. However, he forced a move and it always appeared reasonably clear that he would one day return to Barca.

What about Giuseppe Rossi? They let him leave for just £6.6 million to Villarreal. However his unfortunate injury record shows they probably skipped a poisoned, but talented, chalice with that one.

Paul Pogba?

United snapped up Pogba in a controversial deal from Le Havre in 2009 but he spent just three years at the club - failing to get the first team football he craved.

Despite Sir Alex Ferguson often stating he was ready to use him in the first team, these words in 2011 proved prophetic:

"I mean if we hold Pogba back, what's going to happen? He's going to leave. You know, in a couple of years’ time when his contract is going to finish. So we have to give him the opportunity to see how he can do in the first-team and he's got great ability."

But he never got that first-team football - and refused to sign a new deal in 2012 - much to the annoyance of Fergie.

Now Pogba is at Juventus and everyone, including United, are being linked with his potential £40 million signing.

A regular in Serie A and a French international - this is certainly a player they should have done everything in their power to have kept.

image: © Romana Correale

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