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Mata to Manchester United? – A Luxury United could do Without


When Sir Alex Ferguson left the club last summer after 26 long and successful years at the helm, he took with him his ability to win matches with a very average squad – something which Moyes just can’t seem to do. The fans haven’t had to experience this kind of low in decades, but they’re still backing the Scot.

There are many flaws in the current United setup, the centre midfield and left-back positions appearing to be the most worrying. You can’t say Moyes hasn’t tried resolving these issues, after having bids for Fabregas, Coentrao and Baines rejected by their respective clubs. He did manage to sign Marouane Fellaini from his former club Everton on the last day of the summer transfer window, for a hefty sum (27m pounds), hoping it would be worth it. The midfield problem, however, continues to persist.

Six months on, Moyes and Manchester United find themselves in 7th place, with their fans trying to be optimistic about a 4th place finish. The reigning champions are also out of the FA Cup, and will need to overturn a 2-1 deficit tonight against Sunderland in the 2nd Leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final at Old Trafford. Considering these circumstances, you’d expect the Scot to reignite his interest in a central midfielder and to find somebody who can give Patrice Evra some serious competition at left-back (if not replace him). However, he seems to have shifted his focus from these core issues towards the transfer of Juan Mata to Manchester United.

If you ask me whether Mata would be a good signing for United, I’d say, “Yes, absolutely.” The Spaniard finds himself out of favor at Chelsea and would love to get some first team football in order to prepare for the World Cup. But, ask me whether Mata is the player they desperately need and I’d probably laugh. Yes, he’d solve the problem of creativity in the final third, but the move could prove wasteful unless Moyes first solves the more pressing problems – the lack of a central midfielder and a left-back.

With each passing day, the rumors of Juan Mata leaving Chelsea continue to intensify. There are only 9 days of the transfer window remaining, and David Moyes is seemingly going all out in pursuit of the crafty Spanish playmaker, who is believed to be valued at 40m pounds. Personally I’m of the opinion that Moyes’ efforts to lure Mata away from Chelsea could prove to be futile as Mourinho wouldn’t like to sell one of his best players to a rival club. Nevertheless, if a transfer was to take place, not much good could come of it.

Mourinho has quite overtly criticized Mata for his poor work rate and lack of defensive contribution for Chelsea, thus justifying Oscar’s selection in the lineup ahead of him. It is hard to imagine he’d be any different for Manchester United. Besides, considering the fact that United are clearly lacking a midfielder who can work his socks off week-in week-out by covering every single blade of grass on the pitch – is it really wise to have a 40 million pound player in Mata playing at the #10 position? Surely that would only expose the midfield further?

On the other hand, if Moyes does successfully sign a good box-to-box midfielder such as Morgan Schneiderlin, he then already has a number of players who can play in the hole – the likes of Rooney, Kagawa and Januzaj. In the process, he’d be saving the club a lot of money as well as adding some real value to the squad. The only reason why I see Moyes going after Mata so fervently is because he feels the need to appease the fans and make them believe that he’s still ambitious (by pursuing a world class player on the transfer list). It’s understandable given the pressure he’s under, but I don’t quite agree with the strategy.

With over two-thirds of the window gone, Moyes has done little to improve his squad in order to maintain hopes of a potential 4th place league finish. The worst case scenario at this point for him would be failure to sign anybody, while focusing entirely on one target. If that proves to be true, it would be Moyes’ second consecutive transfer window debacle in only his first season as manager. It would also mean that he’d have to achieve top 4 status come the end of the season, ahead of the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton (or go on to win the Champions League) with the current squad. And that’s not a challenge I’d be looking forward to if I was him. So you better sign someone, David!

The article was written by @Arjooon

What do you think about all the speculation regarding the transfer of Mata to Manchester United? Would he spur United on to a 4th place finish or should Moyes be concentrating on the acquisition of different players? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

Arjun Krishnan

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