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Report: Matic Wants Rennes Move, Leandro Paredes Linked as Potential Replacement

Could one of Mourinho’s most trusted men be on the way out, opening the door for a former Giallorossi player?

AS Roma v Estrela da Amadora - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Fabio Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

Last summer, when Roma signed Nemanja Matic as a free agent, it felt like José Mourinho wanted one of his most trusted soldiers to provide a leadership presence in the locker room. But at 34 years of age, many, including myself, wondered just how much he had left to give on the pitch. The answer was quite a bit, actually.

Throughout the course of the season, the veteran Serbian proved to be a vital piece in Roma’s starting eleven, providing cover in the midfield for Roma’s defense. Matic logged over 1,800 Serie A minutes and 3,000 minutes in all competitions. Those were his highest totals since the 2018-19 season with Manchester United—proving he still had what he takes to eat big minutes in a competitive side as he helped lead Roma to a Europa League final appearance.

And those performances must have caught the eye of other clubs around Europe, as it was reported a few days ago that French side Rennes was interested in his services. At first, the rumors of a Matic exit seemed like fantasy football, given his advanced age and importance to Mourinho. And they were even denied by Italian media.

However, the chatter has grown louder, and now reports out of France suggest that Matic wants to make the move, given that Rennes has a three-year deal ready for him. (He’s on a one-year deal with Roma)

For their part, Roma doesn’t want to sell Matic, given his importance to Mourinho’s side. In fact, Filippo Biafora of Il Tempo reported that Roma is furious with Rennes, given that the French side has been negotiating with Matic’s representatives without informing Roma of their intentions. Furthermore, Roma maintains that no official offer has arrived from the French side.

Given that the season begins in roughly a week and a half, Roma would need to line up a replacement before allowing Matic to depart. And the first name to pop up is an ex-Roma player, Leandro Paredes. The former Roma midfielder has been linked with a move away from PSG after a failed loan spell at Juve last season. If Roma does move for the Argentine, it would be in a separate deal from the one they are negotiating with PSG to bring Renato Sanches to the Italian capital.

This is a developing situation, so stay tuned for updates.