There may be doubts about Juan Mata’s long-term future as a Manchester United player, but the Spaniard is excited by what Radamel Falcao can bring to the club after completing his notable deadline day transfer.
Mata became the club’s record acquisition when he joined from Chelsea in the January transfer window for £37.5 million but, eight months on, there have been some sizeable changes, not least the appointment of a new manager.
Gone is Mata’s status as the most significant signing, with the deal for Angel di Maria surpassing this fee by over £20 million, while the Manchester United No.8 is also far from a guaranteed starter these days.
With attacking options of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and now Ander Herrera, Di Maria and Falcao, you have to wonder where Mata fits into the Van Gaal system. He is, however, optimistic about what the new signings can add to the mix.
“Almost at the end of the transfer window we had a new signing,” Mata wrote in his blog.
“Not just a player, but a fantastic striker whose ability to score is extraordinary: Radamel Falcao.
“I am sure he will give a lot to our group, as a person and with his goals, and here I welcome him and I wish him the best for this season.”
Falcao is expected to make his debut for Manchester United this weekend when newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers visit Old Trafford, and the performance of the Colombian will be the one under most scrutiny.
Manchester United have committed £24 million just to take Falcao on loan from Monaco for this season, and supporters will be desperate to see the 28-year-old replicate the form he was able to produce for Atletico Madrid.
Falcao scored 70 goals in only 91 appearances during two seasons in Madrid and, although he continued to impress following his transfer to Ligue 1, there remain concerns about his fitness after the knee injury he sustained last term.
But the optimists at Old Trafford will believe Falcao can establish the club back where they want to be - the Premier League’s coveted top four places. He will have to hit the ground running in order for the club to revive a faltering season, with only two points taken from the opening three fixtures.
It will be interesting to see how Van Gaal chooses to line up with Falcao this weekend, and whether or not his inclusion will result in Rooney moving into a No.10 role and Mata missing out, despite the latter two impressing immensely together in pre-season.
Van Gaal is reported to have already decided to that Mata’s future lies elsewhere, and Juventus have been credited with an interest in the 26-year-old.