Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is set to continue his shake-up of the current squad at Old Trafford, and has big plans for the January transfer window for Juan Mata.
According to the Daily Express the Dutchman is planning to use the former Chelsea star, who is currently earning £140,000-a-week, as leverage in a deal to be offered to AS Roma for the services of Kevin Strootman. The latter midfielder is a favourite of Van Gaal’s from his time with the Netherlands’ national team, and was strongly linked with a move to the Red Devils over the course of the summer.
A long-term injury, which forced him to sit out of the World Cup, and Roma’s insistence on not selling perhaps their most influential player, conspired to see that United’s potential deal for Strootman didn’t come to fruition. Now though it seems as though Van Gaal is determined to return to the charge.
The Mata swap
Reports claim that the United boss would be ready to part ways with Mata as he looks to bring more balance to a side currently heavy in attackers but lacking some defensive solidity. Despite having only arrived at Old Trafford in January Mata finds himself arguably the most ‘sellable’ forward at Van Gaal’s disposal, and his inclusion in any proposal could be enough to convince Roma to do business.
The Spain international was heralded as the ignition needed to kick-start David Moyes’s reign having moved from Stamford Bridge for £37.1 million earlier this year, but he has failed to make a significant impact. With results having continued to look bleak and the team having floundered in big matches questions have been asked over the ability of United to bounce back up the table.
Van Gaal’s appointment appears to have brought an end to all that though, with the well-respected coach charged with restoring the Red Devils to their position of dominance in English football. Over £150 million was spent on taking the likes of Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera, Radamel Falcao, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo to Old Trafford and, with United having claimed a 4-0 win at home to QPR yesterday, things could finally be on the up.
Yet with the mass influx the squad is inevitably going to have to suffer casualties and Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa have already been moved on. The futures of a host of other first-team players remain in doubt, but it’s Mata who looks the closest to being the next high-profile exit.
United fans, would you like to see Mata swapped for Strootman? Let us know in the comments box below...