Jose Mourinho has revealed that Nemanja Matic was his preferred midfield option over Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier during the summer transfer window.
It was thought over the summer that Manchester United initially went after Dier, offering Spurs a reported sum of £50m, but the North London side refused to do business.
Mourinho, in turn, completed the signing of Matic for £40m despite Antonio Conte’s protestations, and the Serb has immediately asserted himself as an integral aspect of his midfield.
But the 54-year-old, speaking ahead of Man United’s clash with Spurs on Saturday, noted that, contrary to popular belief, Matic was the player he really wanted.
“I have the player that I want to have, probably I have the player I didn’t think it was poss to have but we got the player I really wanted,” he said.
The 29-year-old would have still been Mourinho’s plan B but only because the idea of Chelsea selling one of their stars from last season to a big rival managed by a former manager seemed like something belonging to the fairytales.
And so he went for Dier, only to realise that prizing him away from Spurs was near impossible following Kyle Walker’s move to Manchester City.
Thankfully, however, Matic wanted United, and that is what ultimately pushed the deal over the line. Then again, so did poor Eric.