Nemanja Matic
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Five signings to provide cover for Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic

| 07.12.2014

It was clear for everyone to see. All those who have followed Chelsea since the season begun will have noticed the effect that last January’s signing, Nemanja Matic has had. Their 2-1 capitulation against Newcastle is the first match they have lost all season, and the Serbian midfield enforcer was absent through suspension.

There is no coincidence that the first fixture he has missed all season, resulted in the Blues, now odds-on at 1/2 with Coral to win the Premier League, losing their first game of the season.

Matic, the club’s closest replacement for Claude Makelele, who Jose Mourinho had in his first stint as boss, has excelled, patrolling just in front of the back four, plugging gaps when full backs surge forward, and offering the type of tactical intelligence that the Portuguese boss craves from his players.

John Obi-Mikel filled in against the Magpies for Matic, who signed for Chelsea as a 21-year-old before moving to Benfica two years later, as part of the deal that brought David Luiz to Stamford Bridge. The Nigerian looked a shadow of the player his 26-year-old teammate is, often lacking positional discipline.

As a result, Coral have compiled a list of potential targets who could ease the burden on Matic for the rest of the season, and adequately replace him when the Serbian is unavailable.

Asier Illaramendi
Mourinho may return for his former player at Real Madrid who has shown that he can competently operate in the same role as Matic. He seems to have everything for the role and loves a tackle, is tactically astute and can play a range of passes.

Also, at the age of 24, and with a hunger to prove himself, he would fit well into the squad dynamic of the Blues. Definitely one to consider, with the Spaniard on the periphery at Los Blancos.

Javier Mascherano
Very outside-of-the-box, though there is a number of personnel at Barcelona who may well be thinking about leaving if they end another season without a trophy. New boss Luis Enrique is building his own team as well, and as a result some long serving players may well be moved on. Although aged 30, the Argentinian on his day, is one of the best in the world in his position and can also fill in at centre back.

Having also played for Liverpool, he knows the Premier League, and is at an age where he may appreciate not playing every match, but could still do a great job when called upon.

Steven Gerrard
Would be one for the short-term, however if the Reds skipper continues to stall on signing a new contract, Mourinho may be persuaded to make Gerrard a cheeky offer, having courted him persistently in his last spell at Chelsea.

If the opportunity arose, both parties would jump at the chance, with the player only missing a Premier League winners medal in his trophy cabinet.

Daniele De Rossi
Although, so far a one-club-man, the Italian hard man, may be tempted to the Premier League to finish his career. Mourinho tried to sign the 31-year-old when he took the post at Real, however encountered firm resistance from the Roma elite. Possibly Roman Abramovich’s overtures could prove the difference in swaying opinion and there is no doubting the difference he would add to Chelsea’s midfield.

Thiago Motta
Wouldn’t be an altogether bad option for Mourinho, who managed the Italy international while in charge of Inter Milan, with the 32-year-old playing a key part in the club’s historic treble winning season. He could definitely fill in when needed, and may be keen for a new challenge after two years at PSG.



Matt Haynes

A long-suffering Leeds fan, Matt studied Sports Journalism at university, and has a plethora of multi-industry experience. Having worked on behalf of multiple hedge funds and top-tier investment banks in executive search, he has also had a stint with the BBC and the Press Association. Outside of work, he pursues entrepreneurial activities and likes to keep fit.
Although he has interviewed current England manager Roy Hodgson as well as Rafa Benitez and a number of other names, he is honoured to have spent time in the company of Gordon Banks. Matt enjoys cultivating long-lasting professional and personal relationships, is solution orientated, and supports Coral’s sports content provision.