Midfielder Nemanja Matic set for Chelsea return

Kevin De Bruyne on way to Wolfsburg

 Nemanja Matic of Benfica (left) fights for the ball with Varela of FC Porto  at Luz Stadium, Lisbon, Portugal.

Nemanja Matic of Benfica (left) fights for the ball with Varela of FC Porto at Luz Stadium, Lisbon, Portugal.

Tue, Jan 14, 2014, 01:00

Chelsea are to re-sign for an eye-catching fee of around £22 million, a vastly inflated price from the valuation attached to the Serbia midfielder when he was allowed to leave and join Benfica three years ago.

Matic is due at Cobham today for a medical with the clubs close to agreeing a price for the 25-year-old, who has been capped nine times.

The defensive midfielder had pushed for a return to Stamford Bridge after a hugely impressive spell in Lisbon, with the outlay to bring him back to England to fall well short of the £37million buy-out clause in the player’s contract. He is expected to sign a contract to 2017. Yet the fee remains remarkable given Chelsea had considered Matic to be only a makeweight in the deal which brought David Luiz from Benfica in the 2011 mid-winter window, the midfielder’s valuation at the time being placed at around £3 million.

The vast difference will be partly offset by the sale of Kevin De Bruyne to Wolfsburg for around £18 million, with that transfer finally to be concluded in the next 24 hours.

Substitute appearances
Matic had joined Chelsea from the Slovakian side Kosice for £1.5 million in 2009 but made only three substitute appearances before he was dispatched on a season-long loan to Vitesse Arnhem. With his route into the first team at Chelsea blocked by more experienced candidates Chelsea sanctioned his departure only to watch his game flourish from afar.

Physically imposing at 6ft 4in, the midfielder has developed rapidly in Portugal, impressing as a key member of Jorge Jesus’s side when offered regular competitive football. An athletic runner, aggressive in the tackle and an accurate and progressive passer, Matic is entering his pomp and could make his second debut for the club in Sunday’s visit of another of his mooted suitors, Manchester United.

De Bruyne will undergo a medical in Germany today before signing a contract with Wolfsburg to 2019.
Guardian Service