Manchester United Opinion: Red Devils should turn down Inter’s swap offer
According to the Express, Serie A heavyweights, Inter Milan are interested in securing the services of Serbian international midfielder Nemanja Matic from Man United, with the report claiming that new Nerazzurri manager Antonio Conte is keen to bring the former Chelsea player to the San Siro this summer.
However, there is a twist and Inter are trying to tempt Man United into selling Matic by offering Radja Nainggolan in return, in what would be a player-plus-cash deal involving the two midfielders.
Express understands that Inter are prepared to pay £10million plus Nainggolan as a makeweight to bring Matic to the club, a stance that hasn’t gone down well at all with Red Devils executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
The same report claims that Man United are not willing to negotiate any kind of part-exchange deal, although it is still unclear whether or not they would be open to selling Matic should a good enough offer be put on the table.
Matic, who was signed from Chelsea for a fee of £40million by former manager Jose Mourinho back in the summer of 2017, has established himself as one of the mainstays of the first-team at Old Trafford.
The arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hardly made a difference to his role as a regular starter, with the Norwegian also showing an inclination to use the Serbian international ahead of Fred and Scott McTominay.
However, it certainly doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that Matic wasn’t at his best this past season, neither under Mourinho nor Solskjaer.
The two-time Premier League winner showed signs of slowing down and his reflexes weren’t anywhere near to being close to those that made him a stalwart in his youthful days at Stamford Bridge.
Not only did the Serb struggle to cope with the quick transitions in play, but he also left a lot to be desired with his commitment levels on the pitch.
Matic looked way off the pace more often than not and his sloppiness in possession often allowed the opposition to launch quick counter-attacks, thus leaving United vulnerable at the back.
To put it in simple words, Matic is just a shadow of his former glorious self at Chelsea and United need to shift their focus towards younger players in the market.
Having already completed deals for promising youngsters like Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Solskjaer has made his intentions very clear that he wants a youthful overhaul of the squad.
While a new centre-back continues to be a top priority, United also need to bring in a new central midfielder to cope with the departure of Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.
And given that Matic’s influence has waned considerably, it certainly makes sense for the Red Devils to move him on and bring in a younger alternative.
To put things into perspective, Matic is still good enough to play a first-team role for any of the top clubs in the Serie A, where the tempo of the game is certainly lower when compared to the top-flight in England.
A move to Italy would, indeed, be a good deal for both parties involved but United should also ensure that they recoup a major portion of the money that they had spent to bring him to the club.
Matic is going to be 31 in August but the Red Devils are in a strong negotiating position given that he is under contract until 2020 with the option of another year.
First of all, a fee of £10million in a part-exchange deal involving Matic and Nainggolan looks ridiculous, with all due respect to the Belgian midfielder.
To add to that, United have no reason to pursue an interest in Nainggolan because he is already 31 and at a point in his career where his powers are also going to decline very soon, meaning that he is not a younger alternative to the Serb by any means.
Nainggolan registered 6 goals and 3 assists in 29 Serie A outings for Inter last season and while those returns look quite decent for a central midfielder, it is worth mentioning that the Belgian is also entering the latter stages of his career where a luxurious big-money to China or MLS would suit him better.
United should understand that Inter are only trying to get him off their books because he doesn’t feature in Conte’s plans for next season. It is clear from Inter’s shrewd approach that Conte is keen to reunite with Matic but United have no reason to budge on their valuation of the Serb.
Well, it might be an unfamiliar opinion but there could have been some other reason behind Nainggolan’s omission from Belgium’s World Cup squad last summer apart from the competition for places being an obvious issue. The 31-year-old was one of the best in the world a few years ago but he is certainly not the same player any more.
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Hence, if Man United are really planning to offload Matic, they might as well look for an outright transfer rather than indulging in any sort of part-exchange deal involving Nainggolan.