Reports that Paris Saint-Germain star Blaise Matuidi’s contract talks have not yet been concluded has alerted some of England’s top clubs, with Chelsea and Man City both hopeful of landing a bargain in January.
The 15-cap Frenchman could be free to sign a pre-contract agreement after Christmas if a deal with his current employers cannot be reached and PSG may feel forced to sell at that stage if the midfielder doesn’t put pen to paper in the meantime.
Chelsea are currently 11/4 second-favourites for the Premier League title behind the Citizens at 7/4.
If Matuidi doesn’t sign a new contract at Parc des Princes he will be free to leave for nothing next summer.
The former Saint-Etienne man is reportedly locked in contract talks to extend his stay in the French capital for another four years, but wage negotiations between the two sides are thought to have reached an impasse.
Chelsea’s top earner Eden Hazard reportedly rakes in almost four times Matuidi’s £2.5m annual salary and City’s Yaya Toure is rumoured to be the highest-paid player in the Premier League on £200,000 a week, so a significant bump in the Frenchman’s end-of-month envelope will not faze either outfit.
The 26-year-old started more games than any other player at the French capital club during their title-winning 2012/13 campaign.
Fellow French star Adrien Rabiot was recently quoted stating he may need to leave PSG due to lack of game-time in Paris, but Matuidi has no problems on that score.
The Toulouse native has been in Laurent Blanc’s starting line-up for 12 of Les Rouge-et-Bleu’s 13 Ligue 1 and Champions League games this season and played some part in 50 of the club’s 52 matches in all competitions last term.
Both Chelsea and City are well stocked in the centre of the park, but lack depth in the holding-midfield position.
The second and fourth-placed sides in the Premier League each have a top-performing Brazilian filling the deep-lying midfield roles in Ramires and Fernandinho, but an injury to either player would be a big blow to their respective sides.
John Obi Mikel has only started three games so far in Jose Mourinho’s second spell at Stamford Bridge, which is two more than Michael Essien has managed and City’s reserve midfielders Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell continue to disappoint at the Etihad.