Earlier this week it was confirmed Chelsea had re-signed Nemanja Matic for a pricey £21 million pounds. After selling him in a player exchange deal with David Luiz for a pittance, Chelsea fans must be wondering what they have brought.
Statistics complied by WhoScored shows Matic is a busy player and one that loves to put his foot in. This season in the Champions League he has made on average 2.7 tackles per game and has 1.7 interceptions to his name.
Standing at 6ft 4in and possessing wonderful strength, stamina and tackling ability, you would be forgiven for thinking Matic was a pure defensive midfielder; however, there is a lot more to his game.
Last season Benfica reached the Europa League final (ironically losing against Matic's future club Chelsea) and Matic was instrumental in their run. What stood out most was his ability to skate past players - he tallied 1.8 dribbles per game as he bossed the Benfica midfield.
Further evidence for Matic not being suited to a pure defensive midfield role is the fact his foul ratio is very high. Throughout his career he has tallied 1.7 fouls per game, this peaked in last season's Champions League when he committed an alarming 2.8 fouls per game.
It is here Chelsea fans should have a worry. There is a clear distinction between Matic's form in the Champions League and in the Europa League.
Although the picture below has not taken into account Matic's performance in the final against Chelsea, it still shows an improvement against his performances in the Champions League this season.
One explanation for this is that Matic is playing against lesser players in the Europa League and as such his qualities shine better. It must also be taken into consideration Benfica had only once qualified for the Champions League knockout stages during Matic's spell there. This season they were knocked out by a weak Olympiacos team; therefore, any struggles Matic faced in the Champions League must be balanced with the fact he was playing in an overall poor team.
With high stats in tackling, intercepting and aerial duels highlighting his work rate, and his dribbling skills enabling him to be a threat on occasion, the only glaring weakness in Matic's game is passing. This season he recorded his highest stats in the Champions League with a passing success rate of 83.2% from and average of 52.7 passes per game - an average record at best.
All in all, Matic has all the tools needed to be a Chelsea player as he is combative and resilient. He is also a very consistent player, he was awarded the Portuguese Player of the Month award three times last season (in December 2012, January 2013 and April 2013). His efforts throughout last season saw him win the Primeira Liga Player of the Year award.
Without a shadow of a doubt Matic is ready to cut his teeth in the Premier League.
*Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.