Before Sunday’s derby with City we noted the importance of Nemanja Matic putting in another strong performance like he did at The Etihad last month. Thankfully he delivered.

Matic has been consistently excellent for United in 2020, since he came back into the team as a regular.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer moved to address some of the uncertainty over Matic’s future, with his current deal set to expire in June. The United boss insists it is a formality the Serbian will stay at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer told The Telegraph: “We have agreed with him so he will stay, 100 per cent.”

The specifics of the deal are vague, whether it is a full-on extension, or simply a one-year add-on to his current deal, which United had the right to activate. This should become clear in the coming days or weeks.

(Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Smart move

It is not only good business sense to keep Matic instead of letting him go for free, it’s the right footballing decision.

The veteran star has stepped up when United needed him to and is playing some of the best games of his career since his £40 million move from Chelsea in 2017.

 

Against City on Sunday he was excellent again. He was alert to the danger they posed, and shielded the defence. It’s hard to remember them creating a clear cut chance in the second half.

Matic makes the players around him better. He protects the back four, and gives midfielders like Fred and Bruno Fernandes greater license to attack.

United can still try to sign a younger defensive midfielder in the summer. Matic has shown he needs to be rotated, played once a week, in order to get the best out of him.

Keeping him gives United more freedom and an announcement should be a formality after Solskjaer’s comments. It’s a wonder it took this long really.

United fans are fully behind a new contract for Matic. Here is a look at some of the reaction to the comments, and the midfielder’s performance against City…

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