Manchester United is close to completing a deal for Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic in a deal worth £40m.
Speaking after Sunday’s 3-0 pre-season win over Valerenga, United manager Jose Mourinho said: “We are waiting for news. He wants it very much. I think we have a chance. Number 31 is a free number.”
Chelsea had also left Matic out of their tour to Asia to allow him to finalise a move, while a picture circulated on Twitter purporting to show Matic in United training kit and wearing No31, which has been vacant since the departure of Bastian Schweinsteiger.
If Matic does join United, it would be the second time Mourinho bought Matic after spending £21m in January 2014 to buy the player from Benfica as Chelsea’s manager for a second spell with the Blues. He had been valued at less than £5m in January 2011 when he left Chelsea as a makeweight in the deal for Brazilian defender David Luiz.
Matic, 28, scored just once in 35 Premier League appearances during Chelsea title triumph, but also struck spectacularly in their FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham in April.
However, the Serbian international is expected to leave Stamford Bridge after the Chelsea manager Antonio Conte signed the France international Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco in £39.7m deal this month.
If a deal comes to completion for Matic, he will become Mourinho’s third signing of the summer following a £31m deal for the defender Victor Lindelof and the £75m move for Lukaku from Everton.