Despite his side currently sitting second in the Premier League table after seven matches, Brendan Rodgers is already looking at ways by which he can improve his squad in the upcoming January transfer window with the middle of midfield looking like a key area for improvement.
With Liverpool having already registered significant interest in Derby County starlet Will Hughes the Express are reporting that the Anfield club will look to improve their defensive resolve within midfield by attempting to prise former Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic from Portuguese giants Benfica.
Matic is one of many young players Chelsea brought to the club throughout the Roman Abramovich era in the hope of building a European Cup winning squad of exciting young talents who never quite made the grade at the London club, be that through lack of development or lack of first team opportunities.
However Matic has since gone on to forge a hugely successful career with Benfica since his transfer to the Portuguese club in 2011 as part of the David Luiz transfer to Chelsea. Matic has seldom been described as a centre half however the Serbian international is at his best when playing in the middle of midfield as a defensive midfielder which is where Jorge Jesus has used him at the Estadio da Luz.
In the two years spent at Benfica, Matic has impressed many European onlookers with his composure when in possession of the ball drawing comparisons top Sergio Busquets of Barcelona and this is something that would fit in seamlessly with Brendan Rodgers’ philosophy of possession base attacking football. Matic was voted as the Portuguese Primeira Liga player of the year for the 2012-2013 campaign courtesy of his consistently impressive performances from the middle of midfield.
This impressive form made many big European clubs take a look at Matic during the summer months with Manchester United taking a significant interest in the Serbian in their quest to add an element of strength and composure to the midfield following the retirement of Paul Scholes and the long term illness suffered by Darren Fletcher.
However Nemanja Matic also has a very high profile admirer in the form of current Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho with the self proclaimed Special One hoping to bring Matic back to Stamford Bridge this January however the initial word from those close to the player lead us to believe that the player isn’t too keen on returning to his old club which firmly puts Liverpool in the frame for a January transfer.
When you consider that two European behemoths of the current day in Real Madrid and Manchester United have expressed an interest in Matic you have to wonder if a move to Liverpool would interest the Serbian. He is currently one of, if not the main man in Benfica’s midfield and is playing regular football which is only improving his game and this doesn’t show any sign of halting at this point.
Should he move to Liverpool there is first of all, no guarantee of first team football with the midfield pairing of Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva having been well established for a number of years now and furthermore there is no guarantee that Liverpool will be playing Champions League football next season, depending on whether Luis Suarez leaves the club in January.
It may well not be such a bad idea for Matic to remain with Benfica, playing in the Champions League, until the end of the season and then look to make a real forward move in the summer with several of Europe’s giants keeping a close eye on his progress.
As of last August Matic is twenty five years old and as a result there is no real rush to move clubs just yet and with the player’s release clause currently standing at just under £39million it is yet to be seen whether Liverpool will be able to financially compete with other clubs for Matic’s signature.