Nemanja Matic has made a great start to life at Manchester United. Chelsea fans must be wondering why on earth their club sanctioned the transfer, given how much the Serbian has clearly improved United’s performances this season.

However, he isn’t the first player to join us from a rival club. But how did the managers talk about the decision to allow top players to sign for United?

Robin van Persie
Wenger in 2012: It’s never great to lose players of that quality but he only had a year contract so we do not have a choice. We already recruited to replace him. We have already recruited since we bought Giroud and Podolski, who originally were intended to offset the departure of Van Persie. I’d have preferred to sell him abroad, to PSG, for example, over Manchester United.

Wenger in 2017: I let Van Persie go in the last year of his contract because Van Persie was 29, going on 30 and he was signing a long-term contract.

Juan Mata
Mourinho in 2014: If a similar situation happened where, instead of Man United it was Arsenal, City, Tottenham or Liverpool we would do the same. If the offer was the same, and Juan decided to go, it would be the same.

Man United are obviously a big club, and when a player is not happy at the moment at Chelsea, but he loves to be in the Premier League, he’s thinking about the World Cup and playing regularly. He saw the stability the team has at the moment with Willian, Oscar and Hazard and he thought about leaving. He was trying to find the best option for him and he decided to go to United, which is understandable.

Mourinho in 2014: In spite of not playing for us, especially in the last period, he could be a very important player for us but Juan had this fantastic opportunity, another big club wants him, in a country where he loves to be and loves to play.

It is an offer that is the right offer for us, so in spite of probably many clubs, many boards and many managers who think you shouldn’t sell a top player to a rival club, especially not in the same country you play, we feel and we think differently.

It’s a good offer. I don’t want to say one more million, one less million, it’s a good offer, respectful to us, respectful to the value of the player that allows us to try to bring in another player, because we need another player.

I asked him ‘are you really happy to go,’ and he was saying ‘yes, I am really happy to go,’ so after that we have mixed emotions. We decided not to stop him, it’s good for Juan, good for the Premier League and the offer, with financial terms for us, is the right offer. Compared to what the club played two years ago it is fantastic.

Mourinho in 2016: First of all, I think maybe all of you misunderstood what happened in our previous club because I never told Mata to leave. I never pressed the club to sell him. It was his decision and only his decision, and I don’t like players that want to leave. That’s why I think every player has a price because if one day a player wants to leave it is because he does not want to be with us.

Nemanja Matic
Conte in 2017: You have to ask the club about this.

Conte in 2017: Matic knows very well what I think about him. The importance for me about this player, who is a really good player, a top player, very important for our team, but sometimes you must accept this crazy transfer market. And sometimes you must accept different decisions. But he is a great loss for us.