Wednesday, 20 September 2017

NEWS AND STORIES

The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that the successes being chalked as a result of the collaboration taking place amongst countries in West Africa and Africa in the fight against terrorism and armed groups is significant.

According to President Akufo-Addo, countries such as Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Benin have joined Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram, with the leaders of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso, known as the G5 du Sahel, launching a multinational force to fight armed groups in the Sahel region

The co-ordination of activities between the armies and the intelligence agencies these countries, he added, is absolutely essential to a successful battle against terrorism.

“African countries are co-operating in the fight against terrorism and achieving results, and this should spur us on in our collective drive towards an integrated and united Africa,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday, August 1, 2017, when he delivered the keynote address at the graduation ceremony of Course 25 participants of Nigeria’s National Defence College, in Abuja, Nigeria.   

Making reference to the strides made by the European Union (EU), President Akufo-Addo indicated that the EU was given the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in “the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe”, “transforming most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace”, and the “successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.”

The President noted that “it is a widely acknowledged fact that the EU has helped prevent war amongst its current members since the end of World War II in 1945. History tells us that Britain, France, Germany and Italy had for centuries waged wars over religion, territory and power.”

He continued, “Thus, the creation of a free market, concealing economic and geographical borders, would erode the justification for using war as the quickest avenue to wealth and power, and lessen its appeal. That was the vision that inspired the idea behind the European Economic Community, now the EU, in 1957.”

President Akufo-Addo, thus, indicated that Africa should be inspired by this, and hasten her efforts towards integration.

“If Europe, through the formation of the EU, was able to stop the vicious cycle of violence that had plagued them for centuries, and lead them onto the path of advancement, wealth and prosperity for all, Africa can no longer dither,” he said.

Ghana, Nigeria must work together

With France and Germany being the keys to the success of the European Union, President Akufo-Addo stated that, in the same vein, Ghana and Nigeria, working together, can be the engine for growth of West Africa and Africa.

“Our respective armed forces have co-operated successfully in joint peacekeeping operations in several conflict situations in the region and on the continent, which have enabled peace and security to be re-established. Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Togo, Sudan, Somalia, Mali and, most recently Gambia, all come to mind,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo, thus, urged the two countries to “now work together to unleash the energy and ingenuity of the African, and with a market of 1.2 billion people, soon to reach 2 billion, the sky will be the limit. Let us work towards the day when all of us will look to doing business, first in our region and continent, before looking to Europe, Asia or the Americas because we have the men and women, the goods, the services and the quality.”

The way forward, he stressed, is to implement regional and continental decisions, such as the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme and the Continental Free Trade Area, recognising that ultimately the benefits are in everyone’s interest.

“Those of us who believe strongly in integration can do no better than to give our full support to regional and continental decisions. Through this, we will build institutional confidence and integrity in the structural organs of ECOWAS and the AU,” he added.

All governments in the region and continent, the President stressed “need to collaborate to ensure that the countries of Africa adhere to and maintain common values of governance, i.e. the principles of democratic accountability, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the rule of law. Such commonality will facilitate immeasurably the process of bonding amongst the nations of our region and continent.”

 

In the eyes of some voters, Philippe Mpayimana, a fresh-faced former journalist running for president of Rwanda, is just a clown. Otherwise, they ask, why would he be running against longtime President Paul Kagame?

Some of Mpayimana's campaign venues are nearly empty of people, underscoring a widespread belief among Rwandans that Friday's election is just another coronation for Kagame, who won 93 percent of the votes in the last election.

In the tidy capital, Kigali, there is little hint of the coming vote.

Presidential candidates are barred from putting campaign posters in most public places, including schools and hospitals. The electoral commission vets candidates' campaign messages, warning that their social media accounts could be blocked otherwise.

FILE - Presidential candidate Philippe Mpayimana speaks to a crowd in Rwanda.
FILE - Presidential candidate Philippe Mpayimana speaks to a crowd in Rwanda.

"Some people here even don't know names of candidates running against Kagame," said Chris Munyaneza, a university lecturer who lives in Kigali. "People are not bothered."

"There is no excitement because people knew the winner a long time ago," said another Kigali resident who insisted on anonymity for his safety.

Kagame has been de facto leader or president of the East African nation of 12 million people since his rebels ended its 1994 genocide. While he remains popular for presiding over impressive economic growth, he inspires fear among some Rwandans who say he uses the powers of the state to remove perceived opponents.

Three potential candidates for Friday's election were disqualified by the electoral commission for allegedly failing to fulfil certain requirements, including collecting enough signatures. Two others — Mpayimana and Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda — were cleared to run.

The 59-year-old Kagame has already claimed victory, telling a rally in July that the winner of the election is already known: "The day of the presidential elections will just be a formality." He pointed to a constitutional amendment after a referendum in 2015 that allows him to stay in power until 2034.

'Climate of fear'

Ahead of the polls, tension has been growing following the mass retirement of over 800 army officers — rare before an election — and the reported arrest of at least four senior officers. The arrests include a man related to the late Col. Patrick Karegeya, a former intelligence chief who became a prominent dissident but was found dead in January 2014, apparently strangled, in South Africa.

FILE - Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame gives a speech during a campaign rally, July 31, 2017 in Gakenke, Rwanda, ahead of August 4 presidential election.
FILE - Incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame gives a speech during a campaign rally, July 31, 2017 in Gakenke, Rwanda, ahead of August 4 presidential election.

Karegeya's widow, who now lives in the United States, said of Kagame: "I think he is a man with an endless hatred, even to those he has put in the grave like my husband." Leah Karegeya said six family members, including her sister Goretti Kabuto, are in detention in Rwanda because of their ties to her late husband.

Two decades of often deadly attacks on political opponents, journalists and rights activists have created a "climate of fear" ahead of Rwanda's election, Amnesty International said in a report last month.

"There are many unknown prisons in this country, and many people have vanished and died there," said one supporter of opposition candidate Habineza, Charlotte Umutesi. "My brother disappeared for a long time and we didn't find him until much later. We need a change before it is too late."

'Visionary' leader

Rwandan authorities, including Kagame, deny critics' claims that the government targets dissidents for assassination or disappearances.

Others insist the president has widespread support. Eric Ndushabandi, a professor of political science at the National University of Rwanda, said many admire Kagame as a "visionary" leader who united a country scarred by the 1994 genocide, in which over 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred by Hutu extremists.

"People are influenced by the traumatic situation of the genocide and conflictual politics in the past and no one is ready to go back," Ndushabandi said.

Meanwhile, opposition rallies often flop, apparently because some people are afraid to be seen associating with the president's opponents.

FILE - Presidential candidate Frank Habineza of the opposition Democratic Green Party gestures to supporters at an election campaign rally in Musanze District, Rwanda, July 28, 2017.
FILE - Presidential candidate Frank Habineza of the opposition Democratic Green Party gestures to supporters at an election campaign rally in Musanze District, Rwanda, July 28, 2017.

In the southeastern town of Nyamata, where independent candidate Mpayimana held his first campaign rally, only about 15 people — most of them children — attended. Police last week arrested the mayor of the western district of Rubavu, Jeremie Sinamenye, over allegations that he and some of his staff prevented voters from attending Mpayimana's rallies.

The other candidate running against Kagame, Habineza, called his campaign an act of "hope" despite the obvious risks. The organizing secretary of Habineza's party went missing two years ago and remains unaccounted for. The body of his deputy, Andre Kagwa Rwisereka, was discovered in 2010 with a severed head in the southern town of Butare.

That killing followed the shooting death of newspaper journalist Jean-Leonard Rugambage, whose tabloid had been suspended by Rwandan authorities.

"Running against President Kagame comes with courage," Habineza said.

OIL giant Oando Plc has declared a N4.6 billion profit in its half year ended June 30, 2017.

An analysis of the half-year  results of oil and gas companies operating in the country revealed an increase in earnings.

Royal Dutch Shell’s cash flow rose to the highest since the oil price crash began. It generated $3.6 billion.

Tullow Oil’s revenue increased by 46 per cent to $0.8 billion . A comparative review of Oando’s financials showed positive performance. Its turnover increased by 26 per cent to N267.1 billion from N212.3 billion; its gross profit rose by 76 per cent to N33.4 billion from N19 billion; and its net finance costs more than halved to N16.4 billion from N35.3 billion.

The firm’s profit-after-tax  (PAT) increased by 117 per cent to N4.6 billion from a loss of N26.9 billion in the same period last year. For the third time in a row, Oando posted positive financials, defying speculations and bolstering confidence in the Oil and Gas sector.

In its final year-end 2016 results, the oil firm declared N3.5 billion PAT; in the first quarter of 2017, it posted N1.7 billion PAT and more recently, N4.6 billion PAT in its half year ended June 30, 2017 results. Amidst the sectorial challenges the company continues to wax strong. These numbers are indicative of the company’s ability to manoeuvre the cyclical nature of the sector by adapting quickly to continued low oil prices. Oando has done this through the successful implementation of its corporate strategic initiatives of growth, deleverage and profitability alongside its renewed focus on its dollar earning businesses.

Commenting on the company’s financials, its Group Chief Executive, Mr. Wale Tinubu said: “With security concerns in the Niger Delta receding, Nigeria’s economic recovery has been buoyed by a boost in oil output, while the legislative approval of certain segments of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) provides greater long-term policy certainty for the sector. Our returns underline our continued successful foray into the upstream.”

Oando scored significant operational highlights in the first half of this year.

Through its upstream business, Oando Energy Resources, successfully realised N3.2 billion in net cash from the crystallisation of the corporate facility hedges (1,590 bbls/day) while in the second quarter of 2017, it successfully completed the sale of its interest in oil mining leases (OMLs) 125 and 134 to Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited (NAE) for a profit of N4.6 billion.

In its Downstream business, Oando Trading (OTD), the company recorded a 40 per cent growth in traded volumes and a commendable 147 per cent increase in turnover to N217.5 billion compared to N88.1billion for the comparative period of last year. The trading business lifted volumes exceeding 7.5mmbbls of crude and imported 610,000MT of refined petroleum products, a 72 per cent and 20 per cent increase respectively.

The Structured Trade Finance lines in its downstream business increased by N76.5 billion to N214.1 billion in total, from a total of five international and African banks, further validation that Oando is still a good business investment. This increase in financing allows the company to achieve greater trading capacity and in turn more volumes.

Speaking on the outlook for the company in the second half of 2017, Tinubu said: “We remain committed to optimising our overall production base, seeking unique profit-driven opportunities to further partner with IOCs, while firming up our balance sheet to provide greater shareholder value.”

 

 

Analysts say the oil and gas sector is gradually recovering from the upheaval of low oil prices due in part to the exemption of Nigeria from the global oil production cut by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as containment of the Niger Delta unrest which has led to a steady rise in oil production. In May 2017, the country’s oil production increased by 273,600 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.484 million barrels per day (bpd), a testament to these changes.

The approval of the PIGB is set to further improve the sector. The anticipated fall out of the PIGB is a more efficiently regulated oil and gas industry and a conducive business environment for sector players. More recently, three petroleum industry bills passed second reading in the Senate; this is expected to further encourage substantial investment in the petroleum industry.

 

A gunman and a police officer were killed in an attack on the home of Kenya’s deputy president in the western town of Eldoret, a senior administrator said Sunday, just more than a week before a national election.

Deputy President William Ruto and his family were not at home at the time of the Saturday attack, police said. Ruto is the running mate of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is seeking a second and final term in office in the Aug. 8 elections.

“From the exchange of fire we thought it was more than one attacker, because he used different firearms, but after we subdued him, we found only one man dead, plus our officer who he had killed,” Wanyama Musiambo, Rift Valley Regional Coordinator, told reporters at the scene Sunday.

FILE- The home of Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto in Sugoi village near Eldoret, Kenya, Aug. 4, 2010.
FILE- The home of Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto in Sugoi village near Eldoret, Kenya, Aug. 4, 2010.

Musiambo declined to comment when asked about the motive of the attack, or the attacker’s identity. The deputy president’s residence is guarded by an elite paramilitary police unit.

Musiambo said the attacker initially had no gun but managed to break into the police armory once inside the compound.

“I want to say that after the operation we discovered that it was one gunman, but because he was inside there, he could change position and firearms because he had access to the guns. And the guns he was using were ours,” he said. “We have however launched investigations into the issue, to find out if he conducted the attack alone or he was with others who may have escaped.”

Late Saturday, police initially said the attacker was armed with a machete and had injured one police officer before holing himself up in an outbuilding.

Ruto and Kenyatta spent Saturday campaigning in the counties of Kitale, Kericho and Narok, the president’s office said in a statement. Neither commented on the incident.

A Reuters reporter near Ruto’s compound said he saw several police vehicles going in and out of the compound, as well as one armored vehicle in the compound.
The reporter said he also saw one armored vehicle in the compound.

Voters in Senegal are casting ballots in a legislative election that has brought the country's former longtime leader back to the political scene.

Ex-President Abdoulaye Wade, now 91 years old, has been leading his loyalists' efforts to win seats in Sunday's election.

Wade was president from 2000 to 2012, when he was defeated by current President Macky Sall. He returned from France this month to campaign in the parliamentary contest, though critics accuse him of re-entering Senegalese politics to try and pave the way for his son to return as well.

A young woman holds up pictures of Abdoulaye Wade and his son Karim as she waits for the former President at Dakar international airport, Dakar, Senegal, July 10, 2017. (S. Christensen/VOA)
A young woman holds up pictures of Abdoulaye Wade and his son Karim as she waits for the former President at Dakar international airport, Dakar, Senegal, July 10, 2017. (S. Christensen/VOA)

Karim Wade has been in Qatar since his release from prison in 2016 after serving three years on corruption charges.

Unlike many of its West African neighbors plagued by dictators and coups, Senegal is known for its political stability.

Zambia beat Mauritius 3-0 in the final of the 2017 Cosafa Under-17 Championships at the St Francois Xavier Stadium in Port Louis.

Mauritius - in their first ever continental final - held out for over an hour, before Zambia scored three goals in 10 minutes.

Captain Prince Mumba, Christopher Phiri and Kingsley Hakwiya were all on target for the Junior Chipolopolo.

It is Zambia's first title win in the competition for southern African teams.

After their disqualification 12 months ago for fielding ineligible players, Zambia are riding a wave of success after their Under-20 team were crowned African champions and then excelled at the recent Fifa Under-20 World Cup in South Korea.

"It was a very good tournament for Zambia but we had some difficulties in the first half as the home team was getting full support from their public," Zambian U-17 coach Mumamba Numba told BBC Sport.

Mauritius winger Jean Yannick Aristide
Mauritius winger Jean Yannick Aristide was named Player of the Tournament

"But I spoke to them at half-time and they scored three goals."

"Last year we could not accomplish our mission, so we told the boys that we should come to win [this year] and prove that they deserved to be applauded."

Mauritius drew some consolation from left-winger Jean Yannick Aristide being named Player of the Tournament.

Mauritius FA President Samir Sobha praised his team's performance in their first African final.

"We set up this team only seven months ago and we are delighted with the results," he told BBC Sport.

"We have youth championships for the U-13, U-15 and U-17 - for both men and women - and the work we have begun on youth development is yielding its fruits.

"There is still a long way to go, but we want to continue on this path."

Earlier in the day, Malawi defeated South Africa 2-1 to claim third place.

Guinea's Naby Keita is "100 per cent" staying at his current club RB Leipzig, despite interest from Liverpool, according to coach Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The 22-year-old impressed in Leipzig's second-placed finish in the Bundesliga last season.

The German club have since reportedly rejected two bids from Liverpool for the midfielder over the summer.

"The chances of Naby leaving are nil," Hasenhuttl said after Leipzig's 1-0 Emirates Cup defeat to Sevilla.

"It's 100 percent that Naby will play this year at Leipzig.

"At the beginning of the transfer period we said we would start the season with all our best players.

"Liverpool will finish their transfer activities and that's ok with me."

Leipzig's Naby Keita (C) in action during an Emirates Cup match between RB Leipzig and Sevilla FC in London, 29 July 2017
Keita was in action for RB Leipzig in the Emirates Cup in London on Saturday

Leipzig confirmed they turned down an offer of £67m from an unnamed club.

Keita scored eight goals in 31 appearances last season to help Leipzig qualify for the Champions League for the first time.

"For us, everyone can see how important Naby Keita is for our game," Hasenhuttl said.

"We [have] very young players and I think for them it is very important to play the first year in the Champions League as a team."

Keita played the full 90 minutes at the pre-season tournament at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and Hasenhuttl said the player is more than happy to stay put.

"He is more focused on us and has more fun now than last year. He knows this season will be fantastic for us," he said.

"It is the first time in the Champions League and also for Naby Keita it is a great thing. I think he is more focused than last year."

 

Ghana and Malta have pledged to strengthen the ties of co-operation that exist between the two countries, as well as collaborate further and provide mutual support for each other at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

This was the outcome of a roundtable discussion held between the ministerial teams of Ghana and Malta, on Wednesday, July 26, 2017, as part of events marking the 3-day State Visit to Ghana by the President of Malta, Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.

Describing the visit to Ghana by President Marie-Louise Preca as a landmark one, as it is the first time a sitting President from the Republic of Malta is paying a State Visit to Ghana, President Akufo-Addo, in his remarks at a joint press conference with the Maltese President, stated that their discussions bordered on several issues of importance to both countries.

These issues, he stated, included the improvement in the volumes of trade between Ghana and Malta; mutual support for candidates from the two countries vying for positions with international organisations; issues of migration; and the deepening of political consultations on matters of mutual interest to the two countries, amongst others.

President Akufo-Addo noted that his Maltese counterpart and her team have resolved to give voice to Ghana’s cause and interests at the European Union. Ghana, on the other hand, the President stressed will also help to facilitate the provision of a platform for enhanced economic engagement between Malta and the member countries of ECOWAS.

This, according to President Akufo-Addo, should boost the trade volumes, and help bring prosperity to the peoples of Ghana and Malta.

On the matter of reforms of the global political order, President Akufo-Addo made it clear that the inability of the United Nations to undertake the reforms of its institutions that will reflect the realities of our times, and not the realities of the post-war world, represents a manifest injustice against the peoples of Africa.

The Ghanaian team, according to President Akufo-Addo, stressed the importance it attaches to the process of UN Reform, especially of the UN Security Council, as set out in Africa’s Common Position on UN Reform, based on the Ezulwini Consensus, and solicited the support of Malta for this position.

“It is time to correct the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa. Her Excellency and her delegation shared this sentiment and expressed its desire to collaborate with Ghana to this end,” he added.

It was also agreed that Ghana and Malta extend support to candidates from their respective countries vying for positions in international organisations.

“Ghana has, therefore, given support to Malta’s bid for membership of the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) elections, which take place later this year. Malta, on the other hand, will support Ghana’s bid for a Non-Permanent Seat at the UN Security Council from 2020 to 2021,” the President said.

He continued, “This support mechanism has also been to the candidature of Professor Henrietta Mensah-Bonsu, as a Judge on the International Criminal Court (ICC). An MOU, to this end, would be signed after this session by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries.”

Migration

On the issue of migration, President Akufo-Addo bemoaned the high numbers of young Africans taking distressing risks across the Sahara and around the Mediterranean, trying to reach a better life.

“Whilst we strive to provide youths with the right environment in Africa, which would enable them enhance their skills, receive appropriate training, and have access to digital technology and enhanced economic opportunities, Her Excellency the President and her delegation have reiterated their commitment to champion the need for humane treatment of illegal migrants as well as the protection of their human rights in accordance with international law, both at home and on EU platforms,” he added

President Akufo-Addo revealed that Ghana has been included in the list of beneficiary countries of the EU’s Emergency Migration Fund – a Fund designed to assist in the return and re-integration of our citizens into society.

Government, President Akufo-Addo assured, will collaborate with Malta and EU member stated to help find solutions to the factors that trigger illegal migration.

“Our deliberations also centered driving investment opportunities, domestic and foreign, in our two countries, and the need for enhanced co-operation and partnership in our development efforts.

A Business Forum between our two Chambers of Commerce, as well as with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), has been scheduled to take place at the Accra International Conference Centre tomorrow, July 27, 2017, to identify the trade and business opportunities that exist and would be mutually beneficial to our two countries,” he added.

It was the hope of President Akufo-Addo that “as we shape the future of Ghana, and position Ghanaian enterprises to compete effectively in the global market space, we have friends, such as the Republic of Malta, to support us in this objective.”G

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured that his government will partner and support public universities in the country with the aim of raising and improving their standards, so they can compete with the best on the continent.

According to President Akufo-Addo, “Ghanaian Universities should be ranked amongst the top 10 on the continent. This is not beyond us to achieve, and my government will ensure that universities are equipped with the requisite logistics and guarantee that lecturers are well motivated to achieve this feat.”

The President has also stressed that research and innovation will be at the heart of education in Ghana, as “this would ensure that our graduates from our educational institutions enter the labour market well-equipped with skills for good-paying jobs.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, 29th July, 2017, when he attended and delivered a speech at the 21st Congregation Ceremony of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW).

Applauding UEW for its position as the citadel of teacher education in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo also commended the University for its pioneering role in distance education, noting that UEW is now a pacesetter in distance learning, with 37 study centres spread across the country.

He noted that almost all modern, successful societies that have had outstanding results in training and economic development such as Singapore, Finland, Korea and Canada have shown that teacher quality is the single most important determinant of their successes.

“For us also to make a success of our nation, we must pay attention to teachers. It is only a crop of well-trained, self-confident and contented teachers that can deliver the educated and skilled workforce we require to transform our economy,” he said.

To this end, the President also stressed that government intends to restore the teaching profession to the status it once enjoyed, and make it an attractive career choice.

Teaching, he added, must no longer be seen as a stop-gap measure or a job of last resort, but as a viable choice to enter a well-paid, well respected profession with long term career prospects and good benefits.

“Accordingly, government intends to facilitate teacher training nationwide, as well as special incentives for them, such as support for teachers to acquire their own homes, in collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Teachers, NAGRAT, and other teaching associations to facilitate an affordable housing scheme for teachers,” the President said.

He continued, “We will also support teachers to enrol in Distance Education programmes to boost their capacity. This is in line with our policy of motivating teachers, and rewarding their hard work in the classroom. It is for this reason that government, from September, is re-introducing the teacher training allowance that was cancelled by the previous government.”

Ensure amicable settlement of issues

President Akufo-Addo urged the newly constituted Governing Council of the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), to do all within its power to see to an amicable settlement of all matters currently pending before the Winneba High Court.

Describing the recent happenings at UEW, President Akufo-Addo stated that it is noteworthy that it appears that finality is being brought to bear on the matters.

The current challenges, in the President’s view, can be best surmounted if all stakeholders act within the confines of the law and respect the rule of law.

“Court decisions are not always pleasant, but they are, in principle, the surest way of resolving disputes. Let us not through our utterances, actions and inactions undermine the authority of our courts,” he said.

In the same vein, President Akufo-Addo urged the chairperson of the governing council to ensure that the Council puts in place measures to seal all loopholes of waste and the abuse of public funds.

“I encourage all lecturers to resume full academic duties and use the university’s processes to resolve any outstanding grievances,” he added.Gha

It's a stretch to claim spending upwards of £40 million on 28-year-old Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic represents great value for Manchester United but you can't put a price on keeping manager Jose Mourinho happy.

Often the embodiment of the phrase "face like a wet weekend" during his fraught-but-ultimately-successful first season at United, Mourinho has kept up his complaining throughout the summer, moaning that the club have not gotten all of his desired deals over the line. 

There were even reports Mourinho was at odds with the Glazer family over slow progress in the market. Hours after such claims surfaced, United have seemingly made a breakthrough. Go figure.

Matic's arrival would placate Mourinho, who is set to be reunited with a player he trusts. Such players tend to thrive in an environment where they have the faith of those in charge, as evidenced by Matic's success enjoyed under the Portuguese, winning the Premier League title with him in 2014-15.

Securing one of the cogs in Chelsea's past two title triumphs, and in a position where United desperately need quality, means a summer that threatened to turn into a damp squib can now be partly salvaged. It seems ludicrous to say United still need to make significant improvements to their squad after spending nearly £600 million since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but that is the reality of the situation.

While it's heresy to criticise the greatest football manager of all time, it's fair to say midfield -- specifically centrally -- seemed to be an afterthought towards the end of his 27 years in charge. Marouane Fellaini was the first central midfielder to arrive at Old Trafford in six seasons when he joined under David Moyes in 2013. The last was Owen Hargreaves in 2007-08.

Matic, therefore, would be an important signing. His arrival will, in theory, unshackle Paul Pogba from the defensive burden he had to endure last season and also push midfield terrier Ander Herrera further forward when needed. Having an anchor in front of the back four will protect a defence that performed well in 2016-17 -- only Tottenham conceded fewer in the league -- and it should improve the attack, too.

Matic was the "1" in a 4-1-3-2 at Benfica, although he sometimes had a midfield partner in a 4-2-3-1 before he returned to Chelsea in January 2014, winning two league titles -- the latter of which included forging a strong understanding with N'Golo Kante in Antonio Conte's now-fabled 3-4-3.

Kante is arguably the best in the world at what he does, but there's an increasingly irritating affliction whereby fans and critics have to compare anyone and everything to the Frenchman. Speak to some Chelsea fans and they'll say Kante put Matic in the shade last season. Elsewhere, he's compared favourably to Pogba when the pair fulfill completely different functions.

At United, while a combination of Matic and Michael Carrick doesn't scream pace, it certainly has poise, and you can imagine Mourinho deploying the pair together in tougher assignments. Mourinho's default setting is control, and having two solid members of his XI acting as a screen and allowing the more exuberant components like Pogba the chance to do damage further forward seems like a sensible move.

Nemanja Matic is set to be reunited with Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

At 6-foot-4, Matic would also be the latest recruit in Old Trafford's land of the giants. David De Gea, Eric Bailly, Pogba, Matic and Romelu Lukaku represent a fearsome spine. Yes, this is football and not the NBA, but height and power are nevertheless useful commodities, and Matic is hardly a Marouane Fellaini-style battering ram, either. The Serbia international has a good touch, an impressive range of passing and a ferocious shot. Can you imagine Fellaini even attempting this or this, never mind actually pulling it off?

A midfield masterclass at Manchester City in February 2014, where Yaya Toure was completely surpassed as Mourinho locked down a superb 1-0 win, highlights what Matic can do. Cynics will chime "that was three years ago," but Matic played 35 league matches in 2016-17 and was one of the reasons why Chelsea won the title. These are his peak years, and all being well, he should be able to provide three to four seasons of high-demand service.

United have become predictable going forward, a blight that crept in during Ferguson's final years in charge, and Fellaini's arrival exacerbated the problem. While not entirely to blame for the club's attacking malaise, it has been galling to see United hit long balls for him to chest down or flick on as they chase a goal. It's primitive, but with Matic's arrival, Fellaini is on borrowed time and could be on his way out of the club with reports of interest from Galatasaray.

Matic has been Mourinho's trusted lieutenant in the past and, if United can complete the deal, will play an important role in Manchester United's future.

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