Juan Mata is exactly what David Moyes needs. As news of the transfer from Chelsea to Manchester United has broken through in recent days, many are now of course questioning whether he is a good fit for the Old Trafford side.
People are concerned about positions and where United need to strengthen but at the end of the day the first question you ask is; will he make them a better team? I think the answer to that is a yes from everyone. Of course another crucial question will come to mind even then; is he good value for money? The answer here is not so clear.
For two years, Mata impressed every football fan in England. During the 2012/13 season he scored 20 goals, surpassing everyone's expectations. His lack of first-team football during the current campaign has meant that people have simply forgotten how good he is - and this is understandable.
Surely any player who is top quality can fit into any side? The answer, when Jose Mourinho is in charge, is no. He places much more emphasis on systems and formations than on the players on the pitch. Chelsea are a counter-attacking team and Mata is a possession footballer. He is Spanish after all.
Chelsea absorb pressure, hold their shape perfectly and hurt teams on the break. This game plan suits explosive players like Willian and Eden Hazard much more than Mata. This goes some way to explaining his exclusion from the starting XI.
Having said this, certain players would walk into any side in the world and Mata, lets not kid ourselves, is not one of them. Mata has not proven himself to be an indispensable player for club or country.
However, that is acceptable for one reason; youth. Age is on his side. Still only 25, Mata is yet to reach the peak of his powers. Think about players in recent years who have the same role in their team as Mata; when did they explode on to the scene? The answer, really, is never.
They didn't explode on to the scene. They made their way to the top slowly and in most cases, in their late twenties. At 24, David Silva seemed lightyears from being an integral part of Spain's World Cup winning side. Since his 2010 move to Man City he has flourished.
Only in his late twenties did Xavi begin to make waves across Europe as he learned how to control games. Even the great Zinedine Zidane did not truly come into his own until his mid-20s with Bordeaux.
Buying a player like Mata at 25 is like buying an explosive attacker in their early twenties. He has the potential to develop from a very good player to an indispensable one. Moyes will certainly hope this is the case in the coming years. For now, however, the most important change Mata will make to the dressing room is an explosive change of mentality.
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