Could the sensational Spaniard save United’s season?
In what’s likely to be the biggest signing of the January transfer window, Manchester United could be closing in on a £37m deal to bring in Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata, reports the Telegraph.
The 25-year-old has fallen out of favour at Stamford Bridge, and has failed to impress Jose Mourinho since the Portuguese boss arrived last summer. He has only been given 12 starts in both the Premier League and Champions League, and is apparently desperate to move on to secure his place in Spain’s World Cup squad, and play the first-team football his talent undeniably deserves.
But how would the Spaniard fit in United’s side?
Here’s some options David Moyes could have at his disposal if they manage to acquire the mercurial playmaker…
This formation enables United to start with their two senior attacking players, Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney, in the dominant forward positions.
With Rooney playing as a no.10, Van Persie takes his favoured centre-forward role, as he undoubtedly will do again when he returns to fitness.
This means Mata would have to start from the right, where he would be given the licence to drift infield and link up with both Rooney and Van Persie. He could also interchange positions with either Adnan Januzaj or Danny Welbeck on the left (or even Shinji Kagawa, Ashley Young, Nani or Antonio Valencia if Moyes sees fit.) The Spaniard is very two-footed, so could come in and shoot on his left, or deliver crosses with his right.
Mata though, could also be used as a natural, creative no.10, should Rooney leave the club in the summer…
Rooney’s contract expires in 2015, and with United potentially not qualifying for next season’s Champions League, the England man could leave in the summer.
This means the no.10 role would be available for Mata if he were to arrive. Mata’s qualities and characteristics are perfect for this position. He can slice open a defence with intricate passes, can shoot on goal, can surge through the midfield, and dictate his side’s attacking play. It also means that his lack of defensive work-rate will be accommodated for more than it is when he starts wide.
In Mata’s last full season with Chelsea, he registered a crazy 20 goals and 35 assists in all competitions, mainly being deployed centrally.
If Mata arrives, United’s attacking options look far, far stronger. An attacking midfield trio of Mata, Rooney and Januzaj looks especially devastating, but Mata would also act as a ready made Rooney replacement too, as he can operate centrally as well.
Even for the potentially inflated mooted £37m fee, Mata’s arrival would spark positivity back into United’s supporters, and probably improve on field fortunes too.