John Murtough, the director of football at Manchester United, was left looking angry this summer when Nemanja Matic, one of his closest confidants, decided to leave the team.
The 34-year-old Serbian spent five years at Old Trafford after moving there for £40 million in the summer of 2017 from Premier League rival Chelsea.
John Murtough Appreciated Serbian Midfielder
He eventually went on to play 189 times for the Red Devils. During his stint at the club, he was one of the more seasoned players in the United dressing room and seemed to serve as a link between the management and the coaching staff.
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According to The Times, Matic had “frequent meetings” with John Murtough, who became the club’s football director in March 2021, to discuss the many issues that have arisen at Old Trafford in recent years.
The Serbian reportedly pointed out several issues with the team, but he also stated that he felt “helpless” to remove the rot that had set in under Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, respectively.
As a result, it was obvious that John Murtough strongly appreciated the Serbian midfielder and wanted to hear his thoughts on the prior muck that the team had gotten themselves into.
John Murtough was soon left without the midfielder’s counsel, though, as he abruptly changed his mind about staying with the club and ultimately agreed to reunite with former United manager Jose Mourinho at AS Roma.
Whether the issues Matic previously identified are still an issue at Old Trafford under the leadership of new manager Erik ten Hag remains to be seen, but John Murtough has already heaped praise on the Dutchman for how he has transformed the club’s culture.
In an interview with the Red Devils’ official website John Murtough said that after an extensive search and careful analysis process, it was clear to them that Erik was the best candidate, based on his exceptional coaching ability, his dedication to the strategic approach, attacking football they want to play, and the vision and aspiration he showed for the role.
According to John Murtough, there is still a long way to go, but during Erik’s first four months in command, they have already noticed an elevated level of cohesion.
Since his summer transfer to the Stadio Olimpico, Matic has had a successful start to life with Roma. For the Serie A giants, he has participated in every game thus far, with just two appearances coming as a substitute.
However, the Serbian’s contract was only for the remainder of the current campaign, so it is unclear whether he will decide to continue playing for Roma beyond that.