This season is shaping up as a big one for Nemanja Matic at Manchester United. There is a big chance it could be his last.
Turning 31 in a month, Matic is the antithesis of United’s vision of the future.
That’s why he needs a storming season to prolong his Old Trafford career beyond this one.
Last season was a mixed bag for the Serbian, like so many United players.
Oddly, he struggled under Jose Mourinho in the first half of the season. When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over, we expected Matic to be one of the first players dropped.
Instead Matic went on to produce some of the best football of his United career during Solskjaer’s early run. He showed his passing can be an asset, playing with the shackles off.
When March arrived, Matic was struggling with injury and missed key games. Upon returning, his form was poor.
It left Scott McTominay seizing the initiative and outperforming the Serbian.
Even with a lack of current midfield options, Matic could be an afterthought, if Fred, Paul Pogba and McTominay are preferred.
This is Matic’s third season since his £40 million move from Chelsea.
Matic must earn his way back in, which will be harder when United sign new midfielders.
At his best, Matic is a destroyer, who can protect the defence and enable attack. He didn’t show that consistently enough last season.
It’s a long season, and Matic will have his chances. He needs to seize them and show he is still a force to be reckoned with.
If he cannot, then this could well be his final season at Old Trafford.