Juan Mata is better off leaving Manchester United

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There has been a lot of speculation regarding Juan Mata's future since it was announced that Jose Mourinho would take over at Manchester United.

Mata and Mourinho have a frosty relationship following their brief time together at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea. It was the Portuguese who sold the midfielder to United in the first place, as he was not a fan of his inability to defend.

Despite the reunion at Old Trafford, Mata is reportedly willing to stick around at United and is ready to prove Mourinho wrong.


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It has been reported by the Daily Mail that Mata wishes to stay at Old Trafford, but would this be the best move for the Spaniard?

Limited Opportunities

Under Louis van Gaal, Mata was used mainly on the right of an attacking three and rarely got to play his preferred number ten role.

From the right, he often had bright spells which inevitably faded, and this summed up the majority of his performances last season.

With Mata on the right, United were often left unbalanced, playing without any natural width, and it was only the return of Antonio Valenica to right-back which gave Mata the overlap he needed when constantly drifting infield. 

With United signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mourinho already dismissing Wayne Rooney as a midfielder, it again looks like Mata would struggle to play in his favoured position.

With Mourinho preferring the 4-2-3-1 formation, it appears that there will be very limited opportunities for Mata, who was once described a "luxury player" by Mourinho.

International Opportunities

Mata recently turned 28, and after missing out on Spain's Euro 2016 squad, one would assume that it will be a great desire for him to play in the 2018 World Cup as this could pose his last realistic opportunity to play in a major international tournament.

With Spain having an abundance of midfielders at their disposal, the only chance of him to get back into consideration would be regular games, and playing the same kind of football which won him Chelsea's Player of the Year two years running.

With new management coming into the Spanish set up, this may be the perfect time to showcase what he has to offer.


It has been rumoured by various sources that Everton are very interested in taking Mata to Goodison Park.

With Everton largely considered to be one of the most under-performing teams last season, mainly down to the fact they could not defend, then a marquee signing like Mata could be what Ronald Koeman needs to get the fans on side and turn around the fortunes of the team.

The quality of Everton's squad is not in question, and with the new financial backing of Farhad Moshiri, they should be expected to mount a serious challenge on the European places this season.

Another option would be a return to Spain, with Barcelona and Valencia earmarked as potential destinations. Mata previously spent four years at the Mestalla Stadium, where he grew to be a fan favourite, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see Peter Lim break the bank to try and appease fans after the failed Gary Neville experiment. 

Barcelona would pose a different challenge. They have a history of taking successful Premier League players and giving them very limited game time. 

Alexander Hleb was one of Arsenal's best players in the 2007-08 season, which prompted Barca to sign him. However, he only managed 19 appearances the following season and was subsequently sent out on loan for the next three seasons.

The same could be said for two other former Arsenal midfielders, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song. Although the former did see a lot more playing time than the others, he still didn't make the desired impact on the Catalan giants and was eventually sold on to Chelsea.

It would be a blow for United to lose a player of Mata's talent, but with Mourinho at the helm, it looks like it could become a reality.

He is very popular with both the fans and with his teammates, however, from a footballing stand point, is Mata a player who would be happy to sit on the bench, getting the last 20 minutes of games, when it's difficult to make an impact?

There were moments of genius from him at Chelsea, and these are the players which we should want to see week in and week out and therefore it's probably best for Mata to seek pastures new this summer.

Is Juan Mata better off leaving Manchester United? Leave us YOUR thoughts in the comment section below!

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Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Premier League
Jose Mourinho
Juan Mata

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