Manchester United need to do something about their season. After a seventh Premier League loss on the weekend away to Chelsea, sitting on your hands and hoping the mess will sort itself out is far from the right course of action.
United are said to be preparing a bid for unwanted Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata, a move that makes sense for both clubs and the player, for a fee approaching the £40 million mark. It’s a deal that needs to be made; if not Mata, then another player of his class and ability to turn around United’s season.
Can we really call it a panic buy when a club of United’s ability in the market decides to finally enter one of the higher tiers to put right their most glaring problem? Wouldn’t we criticise David Moyes’ ability to attract big names and the Glazer’s lack of willingness to back their new manager if the club went for a cheaper and far less glamorous name? This is the furthest thing from panic buying. This is Manchester United shopping in a market where they belong.
Juan Mata is wasted at Chelsea. I’m yet to see the logic in Jose Mourinho hanging onto a player of that calibre when he clearly doesn’t want or need him. Even Andre Schurrle, a preferred option in the midfield ahead of the Spaniard, isn’t getting regular games.
United are looking to Mata because he’s deemed a player who can make an instant impact at the club. He’s a goal scoring, assist supplying midfielder who is well up to speed with the Premier League. Conveniently, he also happens to be available. Chelsea may say otherwise, but it’s difficult to see Mata sitting quietly by while this month draws to a close and the World Cup coming into view on the horizon.
Mata for anything approaching £40 million is the type of signing United fans would be hoping Moyes would make. Edinson Cavani has also been recently linked with a move, but the availability of the Uruguayan at PSG is far less straight forward than Mata at Chelsea. Wayne Rooney could be on his way out in the coming months, Robin van Persie is ageing and injured, and beyond those two, United have little to nothing in the way of players capable of single-handedly putting the season right.
Questions would be asked of United and their intentions if they weren’t kicking the tires on this Mata situation. The events that have led up to this month have only pointed towards one thing. Teams from Serie A and La Liga have reportedly claimed interest in the 25-year-old. Atletico Madrid, Spain’s representative in the queue of possible Mata suitors, would see their title charge reach feverish new heights. Diego Simeone’s side would be applauded for their audacity and shrewdness in such a deal.
So why not United? Even at £40 million, wouldn’t Mata be considered a fantastic coup? He’s a player who has won the lot, with only a league title winner’s medal absent from his mantel. He’s approaching the prime of his career, a player who could play for any club in the world, he’s that good.
Panic buys generally point to a club who have bought a player that they don’t really need, one who was acquired for the sole purpose of appeasing others. Something United have done in the recent past.
Mata is far from that. A player who United absolutely need and will help to turn their season around. You can’t fault a club for making genuine attempts to better themselves.