Midfielder announcement could see Man Utd take £71m hit on 33 y/o [Opinion]

Nemanja Matic announced last week that he would be leaving Manchester United at the end of the season, one year before his contract was due to expire.

The 33-year-old failed to hold down a regular starting place under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season and continued to be used sparingly when Ralf Rangnick replaced him, so Matic opted against seeing out the final year of his deal.

AS Roma are leading the race for his signature and could bring the Croatian international to the Stadio Olimpico on a free transfer. That would mean United missing out on a transfer fee and compensation for the wages paid.

Matic joined the Red Devils from Chelsea in 2017 and has gone on to make 185 appearances in all competitions, scoring four goals with nine assists. He cost United £40m five years ago and earned £120k-per-week/£6.2m-a-year.

United will have spent £71m spent in total on Matic and he failed to win a trophy at the club, so his arrival didn’t yield the success United would have hoped for.

The Red Devils had opportunities to cash in on Matic in the past. A deal worth £15m was mooted amid Tottenham interest in 2019, and United rejected bids from Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan in 2020.

Matic found himself behind Scott McTominay and Fred in the pecking order, so he’ll be hoping for regular football in 2022/23. Jose Mourinho is Roma manager and Matic has made more appearances under the 59-year-old than any other coach, so it’s easy to see why he could be lured to Italy.

Summary

It suits all parties for Matic to leave Old Trafford this summer, but United can’t be pleased that he’s going on a free transfer. The Red Devils will save £6.2m in wages as Matic is departing one year before his contract is up, but a lot of money was invested without the club getting value.