Nemanja Matic was reportedly forced to stay at Manchester United this summer, despite interest from AC Milan and Inter.
The Serbian has lost his starting position under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, after being a key figure in Jose Mourinho’s plans.
Scott Mctominay has been preferred by Solskjaer to anchor the midfield so far this season, and it’s believed Matic is unhappy to stay on the bench.
Speaking to the Mirror, as quoted by the Sun, journalist Duncan Castles has explained that a suitable offer was not received for Matic, so the 31-year-old was forced to remain at Old Trafford:
“It’s not that he wanted to leave Manchester United, but his calculation was: ‘If Solskjaer doesn’t want to play me, I don’t want to be a bench player at Manchester United.
“If these two important clubs in Italy are interested in signing me and giving me a long-term contract at age 31, then the rational decision for me would be to pursue that option and go and play football in Italy, ‘cos I’d rather be playing football in Italy on a long-term contract than be on the bench for a manager who would prefer to have someone else in the first team in England.’
“United didn’t take up those offers because they felt that financially they weren’t high enough for them to sell Matic.
“So he was forced to remain at the club. He didn’t push for a transfer in the sense of going public and going down the various steps you can go down when you want to move elsewhere.”
Matic’s form was deteriorating at a significant rate towards the miserable end to the campaign under Solskjaer last season.
It’s no surprise that the Serbian international has not started the opening four games, but it’s understandable that he would want a move if he is not playing regularly.
But the Reds are not in a comfortable position to sell Matic, given they are so limited in their current options in midfield.
With no midfield replacement signed for Ander Herrera, Matic will still have to be relied upon to play minutes when the Europa group stages start this month as Solskjaer looks to rotate his side.