Chelsea only made the decision to sell Nemanja Matic to Manchester United after the midfielder refused to sign a new contract at the club, according to a report.
The Daily Telegraph claims that as well as rejecting the chance to agree a new deal, he also refused to travel with the rest of the Chelsea squad on their tour of China and Singapore.
The report adds that Matic informed Antonio Conte that he wanted to leave and that is was only his refusal to travel which convinced the Blues that they needed to cash in on the 29-year-old.
The London club have come in for huge criticism for letting Matic leave for a rival but the Daily Telegraph also reports that there were no other suitors for Matic, with a move to United the only option on the table.
Injuries to N’Golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater have heightened the negative feeling around the Matic sale but Thibaut Courtois thinks their midfield is “strong” enough to cope with his loss.
“We know Nemanja’s qualities, he is someone who last year gave us the balance as well,” said the Chelsea goalkeeper. “He decided to go to another team, so we won’t live in the past.
“Our midfield is very good, we have very strong players. But if you have two injuries in midfield, then, of course, you can say yeah we miss Nemanja because he is another quality player and he is doing well in Manchester.”
When asked if he was surprised to see the Serbian leave Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford, Courtois continued: “Those are questions you need to ask to the people who made that happen.
“If a player nowadays wants to go to a team, then he has – I don’t want to say the power – but if he has a strong will to leave and join another team then it is hard for the club.
“You cannot just ignore him and say ‘you cannot leave’ because then you have a disappointed player who won’t play at his best. So obviously for us you give a player to another big team, but they are choices that are made in football and we have some quality midfielders, so I hope we can show on Sunday that we are better.”