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Nemanja Matic could be reunited with Jose Mourinho this summer, with the Serbian midfielder reportedly set to move to Roma when his Manchester United contract expires.
Matic has already announced his departure from Old Trafford, with the 33-year-old joining the exodus at the end of the month. He will depart alongside Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard and, according to reports in Italy, has agreed a one-year deal at Roma.
If completed, the move will be the third time Mourinho has signed Matic, following his second transfer to Chelsea in January 2014 and his move to United in July 2017. The veteran midfielder is clearly a favourite of the Portuguese manager – but he is far from the only one to stick to his tried-and-trusted players in the transfer market.
Here are four other examples of managers signing the same players over and over again.
Harry Redknapp and Peter Crouch
Harry Redknapp was so loyal to his favourite players that he signed three players on many, many occasions. Niko Kranjcar is the most often cited as the former manager’s teacher's pet, having joined him on three occasions, at Portsmouth, Tottenham and QPR.
Jermain Defoe is another classic Redknapp player, having joined his Portsmouth side in January 2008 and then played for him again at Tottenham a year later.
HAVE YOUR SAY! What are your most iconic manager-player combinations? Comment below.
But Peter Crouch is probably the most archetypal Redknapp player. The 6ft 7in striker was signed by the experienced manager for Southampton in 2004, Portsmouth in 2008 and Tottenham in 2009.
Redknapp has shown a sense of humour on the topic, having shared the ‘Four Lads in Jeans’ meme on his Instagram account back in January 2021, showing himself, Crouch, Defoe and Kranjcar, alongside a caption which read: “Getting the band back together.”
Rafa Benitez and Salomon Rondon
It feels like a lifetime ago for Everton fans, but back in August, Salomon Rondon was brought to Merseyside by then manager Rafa Benitez. The Deadline Day move came after Rondon left Chinese side Dalian Professional, where Benitez had also signed him.
The Venezuelan striker’s relationship with Benitez all started at Newcastle four years ago, when he arrived on loan with West Brom and scored 11 Premier League goals in the 2018/19 season.
When arriving at Everton, Rondon paid tribute to Benitez. “I enjoy playing for Rafa a lot because he is the manager who changed my mentality and how I see the game, what he needs from me to help the team and my team-mates.
"We were in Newcastle together and he explained very clearly the main points for a striker. In China, it was the same. Now it is the same, again.”
Neil Warnock and Paddy Kenny
The ultimate player-manager relationship. The undisputed champion. Warnock has signed goalkeeper Kenny on five separate occasions, at Bury (1998), Sheffield United (2002), QPR (2010), Leeds (2012) and Rotherham (2016).
That is an 18-year professional career which was bookended by Warnock.
Kenny was just 20 years old and playing in non-league at Bradford Park Avenue when Warnock first signed him and he was 37 years old and right at the end of his career when he was signed by Rotherham in January 2016. That’s true love.
"He's genuine, his man-management is unbelievable," Kenny toldSky Sportsof Warnock in 2020. "I have so much respect for him.
"I remember asking him when I was at Leeds why he kept signing me. He said, 'I know what I'm going to get from you. I know there'll be a bit of trouble off the pitch but you'll always produce on it'."
Carlo Ancelotti and James Rodriguez
Carlo Ancelotti is a modern day great in European management, having won a record fourth Champions League title last month, and the Italian is a huge fan of James Rodriguez. The Colombian playmaker has been signed on three occasions by Ancelotti, for three different clubs.
Rodriguez was first managed by Ancelotti in 2014 when he was bought for Real Madrid from Monaco following an outstanding World Cup. He responded with 17 goals and 18 assists in 46 games in the 2014/15 season and, years later once his time at Real had subsided, he rejoined Ancelotti at Bayern Munich.
Ancelotti had replaced Pep Guardiola at Bayern and asked Rodriguez to join him for a season-long loan in 2017/18. Once again he performed well with eight goals and 14 assists across all competitions. So when the Italian manager moved to Everton, it was hardly a surprise to see him move for his favourite player once more in September 2020.
Rodriguez contributed six goals and nine assists in 26 appearances for the Toffees, but like Ancelotti has since moved on. He admitted last year that he would never have considered a club like Everton were it not for Ancelotti.
"I'll say it with all sincerity that if Carlo weren't here, I wouldn't have come. I'll say it with all my heart, he was one of the reasons for which I came," he toldESPN .
"The fact that Carlo is here was fundamental to come, where I am learning every day.”
- AS Roma FC
- Jose Mourinho
- Portsmouth FC
- Tottenham Hotspur FC
- Everton FC
- Manchester United FC
- Real Madrid FC
- Carlo Ancelotti
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