While the majority of Manchester United fans understandably appear delighted with the possibility of welcoming the Spaniard in their team – who wouldn’t be? – and Gary Neville underlined the importance Mata could have for United, other pundits believe that the Chelsea man is not what United need.
While Mata might not strictly be what United have been crying out for in recent seasons, there are plenty of reasons that would justify United spending £40m for him.
1) The Special Juan
Before venturing into anything more complicated, let’s get this straight. Juan Mata might not be the solution to United’s problems, for there are too many at the moment, nor is he the player United have been crying out for years.
However, neither was Robin Van Persie, and the Dutchman was instrumental in carrying United to the title last season.
Mata’s arrival won’t transform Tom Cleverley into Roy Keane or Antonio Valencia into Cristiano Ronaldo, but anybody doubting the Spaniard’s talent knows very little about football.
Yes, United would need to strengthen even if they bought Mata, but the Spaniard would be an excellent first step.
2) RVP 2.0
Van Persie’s arrival was considered a gamble, as United splashed £24m on a player approaching his 30th birthday and with an injury record as suspicious as Harry Redknapp’s bank account.
Apart from his goals, however, Van Persie’s influence lifted the whole dressing room at a time when United needed a strong response after losing the title to Manchester City in dramatic fashion a few months earlier.
Signing Mata would provide a disheartened environment with a much-needed psychological boost, not to mention that it’d put to bed the rumours according to which United can’t attract world class players.
3) Out with the old in with the new
The Spaniard has scored 33 goals and assisted 58 in 135 appearances for Chelsea and even though he’s only played 13 times this season, he’s created more chances than United’s midfielders combined.
Under David Moyes United have looked terribly pedestrian, with only Wayne Rooney and Adnan Januzaj providing some attacking flair and able to break defences down.
In this scenario, Mata’s arrival would be ideal, for the Chelsea man is capable to split defences open with the sort of pass United have been desperate for since Paul Scholes hung up his boots, while the Spaniard’s versatility would allow Moyes to deploy him out wide, a position where Shinji Kagawa has struggled.
Apart from a severe lack of quality, one of United’s main issues is their ageing squad, with Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick, Patrice Evra, Ryan Giggs and Robin Van Persie all on the wrong side of 30s.
With so many crucial figures approaching the winter of their careers – apart from Carrick and Van Persie, it’s hard to see the other three play for more than another season at the top level – United’s younger players were expected to step up but they haven’t done so, leaving David Moyes in troubles.
Many have suggested that United should invest in young, hungry, players but the Reds need quality arrivals now and can’t afford to rely solely on developing youngsters, however talented they might be.
At 25, Juan Mata has already played Premier League football for two and half seasons and has a Champions League, European Championship and World Cup’s winners medal in his trophy cabinet, making a perfect addition for United.
5) First win for Moyes
David Moyes has been under intense pressure since replacing Sir Alex Ferguson in July and signing Juan Mata would represent a huge coup for the United manager, who’s been accused by section of the United supporters of not having enough “pull” on world class players.
Furthermore, were Moyes to sign Mata, he’d at least partly rectify the horrible summer transfer window as well as sending a strong message to United’s Premier League rivals and, more importantly, boost his side’s chances of finishing in the top four.