Nemanja Matic signs for Manchester United in July 2017

Matic: How my transfer was leaked via WhatsApp

In this age of digital media, when news can spread in nanoseconds, it can be difficult to keep player transfers completely under wraps until they are finalised and formally announced by football clubs. Especially when the players themselves unwittingly assist the propagation!

Nemanja Matic did just that in July 2017 when he was at the Aon Training Complex to undergo a medical and complete his move from Chelsea to Manchester United.

It was the final Sunday of the month during the close season and no doubt a quiet day for any sports reporters rostered to work. Until, that is, a story dropped into their laptops after someone had appeared to take a picture of the Serbian midfielder in United training kit.

“It wasn't 'someone'... I took the picture!”
admits Nemanja, in the brilliant new episode of UTD Podcast, available now.

UTD Podcast: How Matic's transfer was leakedVideo

“I took it, obviously not to put it on social media, but because I have a [WhatsApp] group with fifty people, more or less, from my village [in Serbia]. In that group are the guys I grew up with.

To be honest, they were texting every two minutes [to ask me] 'Is the deal done? Did you sign?' For two days, I didn't reply to anything. But that day, I woke up and saw 70 messages. They sent me reports from newspapers saying the deal was done. So I sent them a selfie.

“I was doing the medical test then and of course, they probably sent it [the selfie] to some friends. The power of social media did the job.”
As his innocent selfie circulated on platforms such as Twitter, and fans debated its legitimacy, Matic moved around his new training ground and posed for other images - this time taken by an official club photographer - as the Reds prepared to announce his signing to the world at 4pm the following day.

With the deal done, any damage caused by the 'leak' was minimal and Matic insists there were no repercussions for him or for any WhatsApp group members who may have passed on the pic.

“I didn't get into trouble,”
he recalls on the podcast.
“Obviously it was not my intention to send the photo to the newspapers. And I forgive them [my friends] because I was so happy and most of them support United.”
Matic found some familiar faces on his arrival at United, including another former Chelsea player and one of the men he had called 'boss' during his successful second spell at Stamford Bridge.

“I knew Juan Mata from before. We spent some time together at Chelsea because when I signed [for them again in January 2014], we trained for a few weeks before he signed for United.

Everyone helped me to settle and of course Jose [Mourinho] was already at United so for me it was easy. Victor Lindelof came at the same time. Victor was a kid when I played for Benfica, he was in their academy.

“From the beginning when I started to play, everyone helped me on the pitch of course and I have to say I had a great reception from all the people at the club.”


The Nemanja Matic episode of UTD Podcast is available now from Apple, Deezer, Spotify and other providers. To find more than 40 previous editions, plus spin-off stories and exclusive video clips, head to www.manutd.com/podcast.

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