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It was baffling that Chelsea were contemplating about selling Nemanja Matic to Manchester United; it was more baffling that they actually went ahead and did it.
The last time a player moved from Stamford Bridge to Old Trafford, it was an absolute steal in the form of Juan Mata; the last time a player shifted from the Theatre of Dreams to the Bridge, it was a disaster in the form of Radamel Falcao.
Manchester United are never willing to sell their players to Chelsea but the Blues are often generous, perhaps too generous, in conducting business with United.
What would prompt the champions to sell a player who was the heartthrob of the defensive machinery that guided Chelsea to two Premier League titles in three years?
He wanted to leave
Contrary to popular belief, no football club in the world has the authority or legal structure to hold a football player against their will; that would be illegal, a punishable criminal offence.
Nemanja Matic was compelled to leave Chelsea as soon as Jose Mourinho came calling. His desire to reunite with the Portuguese manager was central to the move, so much that he was omitted from Chelsea’s 25-man squad that underwent their pre-season tour in the Far East- for not being in the right frame of mind.
Nemanja Matic wanted to leave and so they let him. It was as simple as such.
There is letting a player leave because they want to leave and there is negotiating for a player to leave because of the transfer rewards. For Nemanja Matic, it was both.
£35m compounded with a further £5m in bonuses is very good business for a 29-year old midfielder.
This theory was best personified with Barcelona when they released Neymar Jr. making him eligible to sign for Paris St. Germain.
The Brazilian is perhaps the most gifted footballer on the planet behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but Barcelona were never going to reject a £200m offer. Quite frankly no one in their right mind would.
Funds for Bakayoko
Antonio Conte appeared incensed when asked about why he let Matic go in a past interview, a sure give away that he was never for strengthening a rival team with one of his best players.
The fact however remains that football is a business franchise and Conte is just a manager, not a finance executive at the club. As much as he wanted to sign Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco, something had to give.
Unfortunately for him, it involved strengthening his predecessor and nemesis, a move that may surely come to haunt him at the end of the season.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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