This £22m man could be Chelsea's most important player this season

Nemanja Matic may not receive as much acclaim as many members of Chelsea's squad, but he is arguably the most important member of it.

Away from the dribbling skills of Eden Hazard, the flashes of genius from Oscar and the expected goal-scoring presence of Diego Costa, there is a man who is equally important to Chelsea.

Nemanja Matic may not make many headlines, but he is a vital component in Jose Mourinho’s side and should play a key role for them this season.

Brought back from Benfica in January last year, the powerful Serbian wasted no time settling in to his role as Chelsea’s midfield enforcer.

A man who specialises in breaking up opposition attacks, Matic does not win too many plaudits for being easy on the eye, but he still is capable technically.

This season he is likely to perform a function in a Chelsea midfield littered with talent. While there will be a trio of players ahead of him in Jose Mourinho’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, he will also have new signing Cesc Fabgregas alongside him.

Mourinho is famed for making his teams well drilled and organised, but this rigidity may have to make way for creativity as many of his squad are better going forward than they are defensively.

And that is where Matic will come in. Whilst the rest of Matic's peers in Mourinho’s midfield quintet will generally be fleet-footed dribblers or expert passers, he will need to hold his team together.

Even last season, only three months after joining, it was evident that the Portuguese manager had put a lot of trust in the 25-year-old to do just that.

"He can do so and keep possession, but he can see the movement forward, look at the passing into space,” he explained.

"He is very clean. He recovers a lot of balls in a clean way, he doesn't make fouls in dangerous positions.

"I like him a lot because of his stability. He is a very stable player for someone who is still so young, only 25."

Stability is all he will need to provide this season, too. The creative work will be done by those ahead of him, meaning he will just need to provide protection for a Chelsea back-line which also looks imposing.

The Blues are the bookies’ favourites to win the title this year due to their quality at both ends of the pitch, but it arguably the man in the middle of it who is the most important.

Matic is likely to be a mainstay in this Chelsea side, while others around him rotate to allow Mourinho’s talented covering players a chance in the first-team. Indeed, there is an argument to suggest that his place in the starting eleven in the most secure of any.

And, although Matic may not make many headlines this season, he may just become Chelsea’s most influential performer.

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