MANCHESTER, England (AP) — As Nemanja Matic was winning towering headers, intercepting passes, dribbling round opponents and generally running the midfield in his first Premier League game for Manchester United, imagine what Antonio Conte must have been thinking.
The Chelsea coach didn’t want to sell Matic, particularly not to a title rival like United. But an offer of 40 million pounds ($53 million) for a 29-year-old was too good for Chelsea’s hierarchy to turn down.
It could prove to be one of the most pivotal pieces of business done in the offseason.
Romelu Lukaku stole the spotlight in United’s 4-0 win over West Ham on Sunday, scoring two goals, but it was Matic — a player costing around half as much this…