Whilst it may be the ‘Wenger way’ to buy a relatively unknown youth, and to attempt to transform him, with varying degrees of success, into the next big thing, Arsene may have changed his ways with Arsenal’s latest target. This latest target is Spanish midfielder Juan Manuel Mata, and is anything but unknown.
Having excelled at Valencia in recent seasons, the winger has shown himself to be a clinical finisher, netting 33 goals in his four seasons at the club, as well as a creative force, laying on many more for his teammates. In addition to surpassing all expectations at youth level for Spain, Mata has also represented the national side 11 times, no mean feat considering the quality provided for the side by the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Mata is a proven player, yet also young enough to satisfy Wenger’s preference for securing players with their best years ahead of them, and as such, will not come cheap. CaughtOffside have reported that Arsenal will need to stump up €25M to secure Mata’s signature, and even then the deal is no certainity, with
Mata himself declaring he is happy to stay at the Mestalla stadium for another year. Should Wenger pull of this deal however, it could prove just the right incentive to keep Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas at the club for another year.