Huge transfer boost for Chelsea and Man United as ‘new Matic’ race heats up

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According to reports from Calcio Mercato, Inter Milan have seemingly dropped out of the race to sign Chelsea and Manchester United target Marko Grujic.

The Red Star Belgrade prodigy, who first drew attention as Serbia lifted the U20 World Cup in New Zealand during the summer, has been compared to Chelsea defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic due to his similar style of play, shared nationality and lofty 6 foot 3 frame.

Manchester United scouts ran the rule over the 19-year-old during last month’s Belgrade derby, watching him open the scoring in a 3-0 win over FK Rad Beograd with a 30-yard piledriver, but Chelsea are widely considered as the front-runners in the race for his signature and some sources claim they’ve already tabled a €4million bid.

Grujic confirmed the Blues’ interest earlier this month, telling reporters; “Nemanja Matic is a friend, he’s Serbian and he has been at Chelsea for over a year. He tells me that they want me. Right now I am at Red Star, we are top of the table and I want to win the title here. I don’t think that I’ll be moving in January, but there’s definitely more of a chance in June.”

Serie A outfit Inter Milan, who have proved themselves particularly proficient in snapping up Eastern Europe’s most exciting talents in recent years, looked set to throw a spanner in the works. They’re also admirers of the teenage midfielder and confirmed last week that a meeting had taken place between Grujic and Nerazzurri sporting director Piero Auslio, who told reporters after Serbia’s 2-0 defeat to Slovenia’s U21s on Tuesday night; “I have seen a game, I had the possibility to see him playing live. Grujic is a talented player, I had a meeting, authorized by his club. There are no negotiations going on, we have contacted his family.”

But it appears the San Siro side’s interest in Grujic is by no means as concrete as previously reported, with the latest comments from manager Roberto Mancini suggesting he won’t be making a bid for the Serbian prospect any time soon.

As quoted by Calcio Mercato, he said; “Grujic, he can’t help to improve our midfield. When I work with a group it’s not easy to add a new player, unless he’s Messi or Ronaldo. We need somebody who knows the Italian football and the ambience.”

Likewise, the former Manchester City boss has dismissed reports claiming he intends to sign another midfielder in the January transfer window, once again seemingly ruling out a move for Grujic. He said; “I never said that I need somebody who can play in front of the defense. They talked a lot about [Andrea] Pirlo and [Stefano] Sensi because I went to watch him, but we are not seeking a midfielder as we already have many of them. In this moment we have to see what can come from the market. Another forward? Could be, in any case it must be somebody who helps and makes no trouble.”

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