Amid reports that David Moyes is preparing a bid in the region of 35 million pound for the Chelsea playmaker, the general reaction of fans and pundits alike is a mixed one.
An attack minded midfielder is certainly not priority number one for United, with a gaping hole in the heart of central midfield, an accident waiting to happen for a central defence, and an ageing left-back in Patrice Evra needing to be addressed far more urgently.
But when an opportunity to sign a player the calibre of Mata comes along, your priorities need to change temporarily. Having been left on the shelf for much of this season by Jose Mourinho, it’s easy to forget just how good Mata is. Voted as Chelsea’s official player of the year for the last two years in a row, the former Valencia man is up there with the best midfielders in the world, and would be a fantastic addition to any team.
Questions have also been asked about where exactly Mata could fit into David Moyes’ team, after all United’s philosophy is all about wide play. The simple answer to that is a change of philosophy. Football has changed a lot over recent years, and wide play just isn’t as effective at the top level as it once was. United now need to change too, they currently rely on Antonio Valencia, a player who can run, cross, and not a lot else. And that kind of one-dimensional play is holding the Red Devils back.
A front four of Mata on the left, Wayne Rooney through the middle, Adnan Januzaj from the right, and Robin Van Persie leading the line would strike fear into every defence in the league, and that fear is something which has been sorely missed of late.