Juan Mata provides more than a Silva lining for Rafa

Mata

Top Talent: Winger Juan Mata

Speculation linking David Silva from Valencia to Liverpool has gone on for years with the Spain international viewed as one of the best players that Rafa Benitez has planned on signing in the recent past. Focus has changed though, and not because Silva is out injured, and Liverpool’s number one midfield target – should funds allow it – is now said to be Silva’s Valencia team-mate Juan Manuel Mata. Mata is younger than Silva and actually is a natural to the position Liverpool wanted Silva for – the left wing, where Silva operated despite being an attacking midfielder by trade.

It has been clear for a while now that Ryan Babel is not going to make it at Anfield and he’s now being linked with a move away having not reached his potential. Albert Riera, despite his decent start to life at the club, is clearly not good enough as a first choice winger for a top club – he lacks the pace to succeed as a winger which is a major setback when you want to race forward for a counter attack. Therefore the left wing is a problem for the club and, although there is clearly need for another striker and a central midfielder who can actually remain fit, it’s the reason Mata is said to be target number 1 for Benitez.

There’s no question that Valencia want to keep Mata – they recently tied him down to a long term contract claiming that it was proof that the Spain international would stay at the club. In reality, it’s simply to add some value to his transfer fee though as Valencia’s financial difficulties are well documented and, if they are to keep David Villa as is now being strongly hinted, other sales that’ll make a decent profit have to be considered and Mata is not irreplaceable, good though he is.

There’s no question that both Silva and Mata are top class players both of whom are integral to Valencia and have thus been linked to the big clubs around Europe. Silva is the one who’s gotten more praise and a bigger reputation to date but Mata is the one who scores more often, assists regularly and generally looks a better player – could it be that the younger man is actually superior? Taking into account potential transfer valuations and what they’re capable of Mata would surely be the better signing; he’s the type of winger who would provide assist after assist for Fernando Torres (when fit) and would chip in with a good number of goals himself – perfect for a team who are struggling offensively. With his finishing Liverpool could probably throw him up front with Torres out and get a goal or two from him, which would come in very useful indeed.

Check out what Mata’s capable of in this video:

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