Former Premier League striker Gabby Agbonlahor is impressed by Leeds United’s move to sign Juan Mata this summer.
The lowdown: Orta in talks
The Whites have been extensively linked with a move for the experienced Spaniard recently, with Director of Football Victor Orta even thought to have opened a dialogue with the players’ father about the possible switch.
Still a free agent having left Manchester United last month, Mata is believed to be willing to take a substantial drop in pay in order to secure a move to Elland Road in what is now the twilight of a career that has seen the 34-year-old lift the World Cup, European Championships, UEFA Champions League, Premier League and other major honours across spells with Valencia, Chelsea and in Manchester.
Ahead of a seemingly imminent arrival in Yorkshire – some reports even claim Orta has won the race already – one pundit has had his say on what Mata can bring to Jesse Marsch’s squad…
The latest: ‘Perfect’
He said: “They’ve got a lot of young players Leeds, a lot of inexperienced players in the Premier League. So I think he would be perfect. He might not play every game but to have him in there, to help the younger players and the less experienced players to play in the Premier League.
“I think it would be a great signing for Leeds. These rivalries are dying at the moment.”
The verdict: Spot on
Despite only recently cutting ties with arch-rivals Manchester United, Leeds cannot take such matters into account when it comes to suitably strengthening the options at Marsch’s disposal this summer.
Holding a perceived market value of £2.25million (Transfermarkt), signing Mata – who was praised for his ‘impeccable’ timing by journalist Tyrone Marshall following a standout 9.10 Sofascore-rated display against Brighton in October 2020 – for nothing would be a sensational coup for Leeds.
Last season, the cultured Spaniard made 12 appearances across all competitions for Manchester United, taking an astonishing career tally to 592 professional senior outings, 278 of which have come in the Premier League.
As the protracted pursuit of Charles De Ketelaere faces an uncertain conclusion amid strong links to AC Milan, getting Mata through the arrivals door at Thorp Arch would be a welcome boost.
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