As both clubs have recently confirmed that they have come to an agreement over the diminutive midfielder, for what will be the biggest tranfer in this January window, I will be analysing whether Juan Mata moving to Manchester United is what Manchester United need.
It is no secret that this season Manchester United have been performing below par, even though they have won 5 of the last 7 in the League, and they haven’t been performing to their usual high standard this year. They have crashed out of the two domestic cup competitions to two mediocre sides at best, thanks to some rather stale performances, and a dreadful penalty shoot-out that just about sums up their season so far.
They haven’t had their luck along the way, with arguably their two best players, Rooney and Van Persie out injured. The pair haven’t started together since the 1-0 win over Arsenal in November, and the club has slumped to a record of 4 defeats in the last 6. The fans are starting to lose their patience, with Manchester United sitting 6 points behind Liverpool in seventh place, and not looking like they will overtake them.
This could all potentially change with the introduction of the clubs record £37 million pound signing, Juan Mata, from Chelsea.
The decision from Moyes and Woodward to buy Mata is a good one, it has given a huge amount of confidence to the fans, and has had them drooling over the prospect of Januzaj, Rooney and Mata playing in a trio, in behind van Persie. It gives belief to the fans that they could still salvage something from this transitional season under David Moyes, in what is arguably their biggest signing since van Persie in terms of the morale boost it could give to the fans.
As well as giving a confidence boost to the fans, surely it will give confidence to the playing staff as well. We have all seen how Ozil not only improved Arsenals squad, but also how their previous players have stepped up in quality around him, such as Aaron Ramsey, who many Arsenal fans wanted to get rid of only a year ago. Since the announcement that United had bid for Mata, it isn’t much of a surprise that van Persie, Rooney and Fellaini have all returned to training at the same time, this is because mentally they will be bursting to play alongside one of the most creative players in the world. However, I must stress that I do not feel that Mata will be able to turn around all of Manchester United’s woes, I still feel that they need a strong box-to-box midfielder, and another experienced central defender. However, what he will bring is belief, and that may just be enough seeing as this is still the same squad that won the Premier League at a canter last time round.
Although, I do have my doubts as to where he will fit in this Manchester United team. His best position is in a free role behind the striker, however Rooney has made that position his own and I don’t think that Mata will be able to displace him from there. Moyes likes to play with two traditional wingers, with an average of 70% of attacks coming from wing play. This means that most likely he will replace Valencia on the right, but if that was the case why wouldn’t Moyes buy a quality winger with that £37 million, such as Marco Reus. We have all seen how fan favourite Shinji Kagawa has struggled out wide for Manchester United, and it feels as if Mata might end up in the same troubled position that Kagawa finds himself in at the moment. This means that it is highly likely that this record transfer is a way of appeasing fans before one of Rooney or van Persie leave in the summer, as maybe Moyes feels that he will not be able to keep both of them.
In conclusion, I feel that Mata will be very important to Manchester United in the next few seasons, but he will not be able to turn around Manchester United’s season just by himself. Manchester United still need three more players, a box-to-box midfielder, and experienced central defender and a quality winger, but it is more likely to happen in the summer transfer window, rather than in the next week. He is already a proven player in the Premier League so he will be able to make an instant impact in performances and well as lifting the spirits of people involved in the club.