The No. 31 jersey: Can Nemanja Matic overcome the Schweinsteiger debacle?

The No. 31 jersey: Can Nemanja Matic overcome the Schweinsteiger debacle?

By Mark Weasley

Manchester United have a new ‘beast’ in town that could turn us into title frontrunners going into next season. Today, United announced the signing of Chelsea midfielder, Nemanja Matic on a three year contract that could have massive ramifications for the destination of the Premier League title.

He had been actively pursued by Jose Mourinho all summer who knows that having a steady defensive enforcer as the base of any team is a necessary ingredient into preparing the recipe of a title running squad. Over the years, he has had players in that mould, players willing to do the hard graft in the middle of the park, and it has proved to be a success so far.

The Red Devils has made a huge statement of intent by signing Matic and it is perplexing and even surprising to us that Chelsea would even contemplate selling one of the best players in the world in his position to us, but they feel that at age 29, £40m was too much to reject.

His choice of jersey number has been amusing as his preferred no 21 is currently being worn by Ander Herrera, and has opted to wear the number 31, last worn by German football legend, Bastian Schweinsteiger.

The former Bayern midfielder struggled to replicate the form that made him such a powerful and influential figure, but those moments came far and far between for the player. He made just 35 appearances in two years, and was let go in March on a free transfer by Jose Mourinho, a truly sad end for him in England.

United fans will hope that the comparisons between Matic and Schweinsteiger end just with the number, and we are right to think it will. Whereas Schweinsteiger arrived as a veteran looking every day of his age, Matic is still in his pomp, and will offer the club at least 4 years at the top level, enough to return the club back to the summit of English football.

Matic has Premier League winning experience and will offer the midfield balance and solidity and ensure that Pogba is free from the defensive shackles that reined him in on many occasions last season.

Jose Mourinho is on a mission and Matic is another piece of that jigsaw. Jersey number will matter little to Jose and his team of fighters. Next season will be war.

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