Letting Juan Mata join Manchester United almost felt like self-sabotage at the time, and for good reason. He was great at Chelsea.
David Moyes did not achieve much during his brief and uneventful stint at Old Trafford, everyone knows that. But signing little Juan Mata was probably one of the few saving graces that fans can genuinely look back on and appreciate. That and the fact he has still managed United further in the Champions League than Pep Guardiola with Manchester City.
Small victories, David, small victories.
The Spaniard was deemed surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho despite being one of the Blue’s most effective players with 32 goals and 58 assists in 135 appearances, simply because he did not fit the typical Mourinho mould; either physically strong or extremely pacey. Mata was slow and methodical, like a chess player – he would plan out his moves ten steps in front and execute with pinpoint precision.
To sanction the move of such a gifted player to another Premier League top four rival was a rather questionable decision on Jose Mourinho’s part. On paper, anyway. Even with Moyes at the helm, the little Spanish wizard could have easily been the key to unlocking a faltering Manchester United side. Someone to add a bit of magic to reinvigorate a mourning Robin van Persie or squeezed out the last best bits of Wayne Rooney.
Manchester United fans were understandably pleased with the £37.1 million record signing…
— Mikey Bacon (@realmikeyb17) January 25, 2014
— Rhys Harteveld (@RHarteveld11) January 25, 2014
— MK (@kirkybollocks) January 25, 2014
@MENnewsdesk shame for Mata, he to good!!
— paul diorio (@pauldiorio2) January 25, 2014
— John Owen (@johnnyo99) January 25, 2014
Juan Mata has since collected 44 goals and 37 assists in 216 appearances with the Red Devils, which is a decent enough haul. However, we do feel like his days are numbered at Old Trafford.
Indeed, as great as he can be, his lack of pace and weak physical attributes are not compatible with the style of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who will surely prefer quicker players to facilitate swift and effective counter-attacking football.
United fans, what were your initial thoughts when Juan Mata first signed? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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