In the age of unimaginably exorbitant transfer fees, Chelsea (pioneers in the art of extracting outrageous sums when exporting unwanted footballers) have allegedly demanded just £17m for Nemanja Matic.
The Serbian destroyer is believed to be a target of Juventus according to a fleet of red top news sources and at that price it’s no wonder.
Widespread reports indicate the Old Lady are set to receive as much as £100m for in-demand Paul Pogba and Chelsea stand to receive less than a fifth of the figure in exchange for a midfielder whose talents they famously undervalued once before.
Before the Premier League went N’Golo Kante crazy last season, Matic was considered in some quarters as not just the best holding-midfielder in England, but the world.
His consistent dominance throughout the 2014/15 campaign was regarded as one of the most important factors behind Chelsea’s title win, but the previous season saw a dramatic decline in performances.
The 27-year-old wasn’t the only squad member to suffer a stark drop in standards as the Blues excelled in their demonstration of how not to defend a league crown and was often cited as one of the protagonists in the players’ behind-closed-doors war with then manager Jose Mourinho.
He didn’t do much better under Guus Hiddink either, but the season-and-a-half in which he flourished following his return to Stamford Bridge is testament to how uncharacteristically irrationally Chelsea are behaving in this situation.
Few considered it bad business when Matic, not known for his ferocious back-four-guarding skills at the time, was bolted into the deal that brought David Luiz from Benfica in 2011, but the notion was hideously undermined by his rejuvenation under Jorge Jesus and the reported £25m the Blues subsequently had to pay to bring him back to west London.
It’s easy to see the Serb flourishing in a similar fashion at Juventus, asserting authority on Champions League midfields like the £30m+ player he certainly can be as Blues fans contemplate how he was let go so cheaply yet again.