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Manchester United: Asensio could be Mata’s heir

Manchester United have been linked with Real Madrid ace Marco Asensio recently and the Spain international could be the ideal man to replace Juan Mata in Erik ten Hag’s side at Old Trafford.

What’s the word?

According to reports from Spain, Asensio’s agent Jorge Mendes wants to bring his client to Old Trafford this summer as he eyes a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ten Hag will surely be in the market for attacking reinforcements given the departures of Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard and Mata so far this summer, as well as Mason Greenwood’s absence, and Asensio could provide some much-needed quality in attack.

The Red Devils managed just 57 goals in the most recent Premier League season and finished with a neutral goal difference, so the signing of Asensio would perhaps take some of the pressure off Bruno Fernandes as the chief creator in United’s midfield.

Mata 2.0

Mata joined United from Chelsea in January 2014 and went on to make 285 appearances during his time at Old Trafford, contributing 51 goals and 47 assists.

The Spaniard was capable of playing on either wing and as an attacking midfielder, which is where Asensio has mainly been deployed during his time at Madrid, so the similarities are clear to see.

WhoScored suggests that both Mata and Asensio’s strengths include their ability to pass and hold on to the ball, while the Madrid man is also adept at shooting from range.

Could Asensio be a good heir to Mata?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Transfermarkt currently values the 26-year-old at £36m so he wouldn’t come cheap, but Madrid may be keen to move him on given that his contract is set to expire at the end of next season.

Last season saw the former Mallorca man make 31 appearances in La Liga for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, in which he contributed ten goals.

The Champions League-winning manager was full of praise for Asensio after his winning goal against Granada last season, saying:

“Asensio is very important for us. He has quality and commitment. He’s a very important player for us and we’ve won tonight via his greatest quality, his shooting.”

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Given that recently departed interim manager Ralf Ragnick was critical of a number of players’ commitment at United, Asensio seems like exactly the sort of player Ten Hag will need if he is to improve his side’s fortunes next season.

Although Mata didn’t feature too much in his final season at Old Trafford, he will certainly leave a hole in the squad and Asensio might just be the man to fill it.

And in other news… United in ‘direct contact’ with former ten Hag favourite 

Article title: Manchester United: Asensio could be Mata’s heir

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