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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Matic closer to Manchester United move after Chelsea tour snub

Antonio Conte’s fresh revolution at Chelsea appears to have no room for Nemanja Matic, who moved closer to a move to Manchester United after being left off the Blues’ pre-season tour squad.

The Serbia international only missed three games in Chelsea’s Premier League title triumph last term, but has been routinely linked with a reunion with Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.

Matic was a key player in Mourinho’s title triumph at Stamford Bridge in 2015, having returned to the club from Benfica the previous season.

Tiemoue Bakayoko has been drafted in from Monaco to add competition in midfield, although the Frenchman is also absent from the selection to travel to China and Singapore.

Eden Hazard misses the tour as he recovers from a broken ankle, while Kurt Zouma also stays at home, with the Frenchman expected to secure a loan departure from the champions.

Diego Costa is, less surprisingly, not involved. The Spain international has not reported back to pre-season training after being told he was surplus to requirements by Conte in a text message.

His former employers Atletico Madrid are reportedly keen on an estimated £40million deal, but their FIFA-imposed transfer ban means Costa would be unable to play for Diego Simeone until January if he does depart for the Wanda Metropolitano.

After missing out on Romelu Lukaku to United, Chelsea are expected to try and replace Costa with Real Madrid’s £60m striker Alvaro Morata.

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