We don’t typically do “theme weeks” here at the Chiesa di Totti, but if we did, the first week of June surely would have been “Veteran Free Agent Week”. Over the past seven to ten days, we’ve poured over the merits of Roma taking fliers on veteran players looking to extend their careers with a major European club; a tactic used across the league, as evidenced by Inter Milan’s pending free-agent deal with Roma’s very own Henrikh Mkhitaryan. While former Real Madrid midfielder Isco may ultimately assume Mkhitaryan’s role on the pitch, he won’t be the first veteran to join the Giallorossi this summer.
According to multiple reports out of Italy, Roma is poised to sign to form Manchester United defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic on a free-agent deal.
AS Roma will let Henrikh Mkhitaryan leave on a free – he’s joining Inter, done deal. pic.twitter.com/LOQj8lsQmc
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 5, 2022
Both Fabrizio Romano and Gianluca Di Marzio report that Matic, 33-years-old, is set to sign a one-year, €3.5 million deal with an option for a second year. Matic, who played under José Mourinho at Chelsea and United, brings a wealth of experience to Trigoria. Over the course of his 13-year career, Matic has amassed nearly 450 appearances for Vitesse, Benfica, Chelsea, and Manchester United, winning a gaggle of trophies along the way including two Premier League titles during his stint with Chelsea.
Once a lock for 30 appearances each season, Matic has eased into a part-time role for United over the past few years, averaging roughly 1,300 league minutes over the past three Premier League campaigns with the Red Devils. While he may not be the most exciting player on the pitch, Matic offers everything one craves from a defensive midfielder: he’s steady in possession, he can move the ball up the pitch and he’s not afraid to get stuck into a tackle.
This move won’t necessarily preclude Roma from signing a younger and more dynamic defensive midfielder, but Matic will provide a reliable, steady presence in front of the backline, giving Mourinho one less thing to worry about as he attempts to guide Roma up the ladder in 2022-2023.