Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughWill Juan Mata be a success at Manchester United? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Will Juan Mata be a success at Manchester United? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Will Juan Mata be a success at Manchester United?

This afternoon Spaniard Juan Mata is having a medical in Manchester ahead of his proposed record-breaking £37million move from Premier League rivals Chelsea. There have been question marks over whether the 25-year-old, who has fallen down the pecking order at Chelsea under Mourinho, will be a success at United. Some argue that this signing, like that of Marouane Fellaini in the summer, is another example of a panic buy by United boss David Moyes. If this is a panic buy then I’d like to argue that it is an ideal panic buy for United.

Jose Mourinho was the first to air doubts about Juan Mata back in August when he regularly omitted Mata from his starting eleven, claiming that he must adapt his game to be more defensive. However, with the underrated Michael Carrick doing the dirty work behind, it should free the hard-working Mata up to play behind the strikers in a traditional number 10 role.

Additionally although doubts remain about Mata’s effectiveness in a wide role the temptation for Moyes must be, fitness permitting, to play a 4-2-2-2 formation with Carrick partnering the unfortunate Darren Fletcher in a central midfield role, with Mata out wide on the left and the lively Belgian Januzaj to the right.

A partnership of Van Persie and Rooney up front is preferred but with doubts over the fitness of Van Persie, Mata should be able to effectively play behind Rooney or Hernandez in his absence. Moreover with doubts remaining over the future of Rooney the signing of Mata will hopefully reassure Rooney of United’s ambition, whilst undoubtedly strengthening the team.

There can be no doubts about the quality that Mata possesses. The attacking midfielder, who was voted Chelsea’s player of the season for two consecutive years, is known for his outstanding control, vision and quality of passing. During these two seasons as a vocal point for the team Mata contributed with 18 goals and 25 assists in the league.

This season despite limited opportunities he has registered two assists in the league and has a respectable passing accuracy of 88.1%, a stat bettered by only 26 other players in the Premier League. His quality extends also to being physiological. As seen last season with Van Persie, or with Mesut Ozil earlier in this campaign, a big-name transfer might be worth more in physiological value to the rest of the team than physically.

Critical United fans can be accused of being short-sighted. Whilst enduring an unimpressive season by his own high standards Mata’s previous success with Chelsea and the Spanish national team should not be forgotten.

It is clear that this signing will not rectify United’s lack of quality, particularly in midfield, however it’s not a bad start in an attempt to rectify this problem. Having been restricted to just 834 minutes so far this season Mata will be eager to rediscover the form that saw him named in last season’s PFA Team of the Year, whilst also propelling United up the league into a top four place which by now must be the minimum requirement for United fans in Moyes’ debut season. 

Rory Edwards