Frank Lampard hints at reason behind Chelsea's decision to sell Nemanja Matic to Manchester United
It definitely sounds like Antonio Conte didn't want to sell Nemanja Matic.
Last week the Chelsea boss left no doubt in supporters' minds that the decision to part ways with the Serbian midfielder was not his, which prompted suggestions that the Blues board was responsible for sanctioning the deal which saw Matic move to Manchester United.
Conte doesn't look too happy that Chelsea sold us Matic pic.twitter.com/jEEGjHYzGt
— Mourinho FC (@TarekTamo) August 4, 2017
And now Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has suggested that maybe it was not even the board's decision, hinting that Matic may well have forced through the transfer to Jose Mourinho's side.
"I was surprised to see him move to United and maybe there is more to this deal than we realise," Lampard told Yahoo Sports.
"I heard whispers at the back end of last season that he wanted to go and even if the club cannot come out and say too much about that, maybe there was an element of that in play here when this deal went through.
"You get the feeling that Chelsea didn’t really want Matic to go, but players can push for a move at times and that is why this deal feels different compared to Petr Cech’s move from Chelsea to Arsenal a couple of years back.
Already getting up close and personal with supporters https://t.co/DYWfCsW6TZ
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE_UK) August 2, 2017
"Petr had done such a lot for the club, Thibaut Courtois had come in and it would have been harsh to stop him moving to Arsenal when he was so settled in London, but this is different.
"Matic was a big player for Chelsea last season and even though they have sign players to replace him, he is going to be missed and possibly just as significantly, he strengthens Manchester United, there is no doubt about that."
Earlier this week, Paul Scholes also admitted to being surprised that Matic was allowed to leave Stamford Bridge and explained what the 29-year-old would bring to the Red Devils.
"Why did Chelsea sell him?" 🤷♂️
Paul Scholes hails the addition of Nemanja Matić to Man Utd's midfield... 👌 pic.twitter.com/9849FMpjY8
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 8, 2017
Lampard agrees that Matic will prove a stellar signing and provide the necessary protection and aggression to allow for Paul Pogba to be more adventurous and justify his £89.3 million pricetag.
"This is a guy [Pogba] with a huge amount of talent, that is undisputed," Lampard said. "It is just how he uses that talent in the team. He needs this year to kick on and Matic arriving at the club has to help him. Maybe now Pogba will have more freedom to get forward and people will expect to see goals and assists from him on a regular basis now in the big games.
"There can be no excuses now, this is his second season and he has to produce it now."