Gary Neville believes that Nemanja Matic can succeed at Manchester United after arriving from Chelsea, noting that Jose Mourinho needed a defensive midfielder ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
The Serb completed his move to Old Trafford on Monday afternoon after three and a half campaigns at Chelsea, signing a three year contract for a fee of £40m.
He joins off the back of serving as an integral aspect of Chelsea’s march to the title last season and will wear number 31 at Man United.
And Neville, reflecting on the move, noted that the Portuguese, above anything, needed a sturdy holding midfielder this summer.
“Michael Carrick’s obviously got one more year but he can’t play every single week so they’ve got to have that player come in and do the same job,” he said.
“I believe Nemanja Matic can do that. United need a holding midfield player.
“Schneiderlin was let go earlier this year, Schweinsteiger didn’t get a game. There needed to be a replacement in there and ultimately I think Matic will fit the bill.
“It’s a strange one for Chelsea to let him go because I thought he was good for them with Kante and I think they need to strengthen.
“So I’m not sure why he’s been let go so they must have replacements in hand.”
There has been plenty of talk revolving around how Matic’s main role at United would be to free up space for Paul Pogba to have license to roam further forward, but the bottom line is that, with Michael Carrick now 36, United simply need somebody capable of protecting the defence and taking on most of the workload next year.
And there aren’t many more reliable assets in that area than the 29-year-old: he is a proven Premier League winning stalwart, capable of commandeering a subtle yet overwhelmingly powerful assault at the base of midfield – something necessary for any side challenging for the title.