Nemanja Matic has revealed that he came close to leaving Chelsea this summer, but eventually decided not to depart after holding talks with the club. The midfielder is delighted with the decision and is looking forward to helping Chelsea get back into the Champions League and battle for the title after a disappointing previous campaign which saw them finish in 10th place in the Premier League.

The Serbian midfielder was subject to interest from a number of clubs this summer, including Manchester United, but chose to remain at Stamford Bridge. It was expected that Matic's playing time would be drastically reduced following the arrival of N'Golo Kante from Leicester City, but the former Benfica star has retained his place at the heart of the midfield.

"I spoke with the club and we both decided that it was best for the club and for me to stay," Matic said, as quoted by the Mirror.

"I'm very happy because I'm now here with this team and this club. I will give my best and all my quality to help the team to challenge for the title. I want to improve my game and I'm sure Conte is the right coach to do that," he added.

The 28-year-old has also heaped praise on his midfield partner Kante, who he believes is better than Chelsea legend Claude Makelele. The French midfielder played a key role in helping the Foxes with the league last season and was also nominated for the PFA player of the year award in what was his debut campaign in the Premier League.

"Many people say that he is the new Makelele, but I don't think so. Makelele was a great player and we all respect him, me especially because I know that position and how it is difficult to play," the Serbia international said, as quoted on Sky Sports.

Nemanja Matic
Nemanja Matic believes colleague N'Golo Kante is better than Chelsea legend Claude Makelele Getty

"But I think that N'Golo is better than him. He is doing his defensive job very well and with the ball he has some extra quality."