Football

Manchester United must dig deep to save their season

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It's widely speculated that 26-year-old Spaniard Juan Mata will sign for Manchester United today, and be David Moyes's second ever transfer as the manager and a record buy at £37.5 million.

Many times Mourinho has quoted that: "He was fantastic for Chelsea and Chelsea was fantastic for him. We are not afraid he is going there to do very well. We want him to go there and be happy." 

Clearly the Portuguese 'Special One' has a good idea of where he wants Chelsea to go, and if Mata isn't in that plan then surely Mourinho has done the right thing, but perhaps without realising, has given United the tool that may save the fortunes of their season.

United have really struggled creatively this campaign, party because they didn't make best use of the summer transfer window last year, and also partly because their creative players of the past, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, are semi-retired and nowhere near their creative best.

Sir Alex Ferguson's signing of Shinji Kagawa in the 2012 summer window gave United fans hope that we could successfully replace Scholes, but it didn't work and the Japan international has only featured 29 times in the last 18 months and even this season, Kagawa has failed to impress with Moyes favouring the 18-year-old wonderkid, Adnan Januzaj.

United have been struck by serial injuries to Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young, and Michael Carrick, leaving the Scot having to make do with a certainly weaker starting XI including Danny Welbeck, Anderson and Tom Cleverly.

The Red Devils have had a real problem creating chances and therefore not scoring, leaving them with six defeats at this point in the season already. Here is where Juan Mata comes in.

The current, soon to be former, Chelsea midfielder has been the player of the year for the Blues in the last two campaigns, which makes this switch even more baffling. It's been made clear in Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's starting line ups that Mata has no place in his style of playing; favouring Oscar, Willian and Eden Hazard.

Hearing that Mourinho has no qualms in selling Mata is music to United fans' ears, but begs the question: 'Why wasn't he sold in the summer when these other creative masters were bought?'

Some might say that £37.5 million for a player currently sat on the bench at Stamford Bridge is absurd but I think differently. It's very rare for a star player from a top four team to switch to another top four team midway through the season and so therefore warrants this price tag.

In the world we live in, players moving for mega-bucks is no longer unusual, and if £37.5 million is what it takes to convince Roman Abramovich to sell to United then I'm happy for Mata to be our record transfer. 

Mata is the perfect man for United, in that he can either work just behind Rooney or Van Persie or wide on the right or left. Kagawa hasn't shown his full potential but this could be his opportunity to pair up with a playmaker that with the help of Moyes and his staff could be brought back to his best that was demonstrated during last season.

I don't know why Manchester United have reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation, that which is used so well by Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. I think United will work best with Mata as a 4-1-3-1-1; Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra in defence; Darren Fletcher/Michael Carrick as a sweeper between defence and midfield; Valencia, Mata and Januzaj/Kagawa in midfield with Rooney just in front and Van Persie as the main striker.

The reason I've chosen that as a formation and starting XI is that United don't seem to have a spine through the team, which has lead to them at times collapsing and conceding stupid goals. Hopefully with a formation even remotely similar to this United can forget their start to the season and push on as they are so famous for in the past.

Arsene Wenger has come out in anger, complaining that the transfer of Mata is unfair because Chelsea have already played United twice whereas Arsenal and Manchester City, their title rivals, still have to play the Red Devils before the end of the season. This doesn't mean Chelsea won't meet United in the final stages of the Champions League but it's very unlikely.

There's no doubt that Mata is a God-send for United and could be what they need to finally make a dent in the top four and challenge for the Champions League places, which currently seem so far away.

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Topics:
Premier League
Manchester United
Chelsea
Juan Mata
Football

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