— The Sun – Man Utd (@SunManUtd) September 26, 2016
Well, after an unforeseen turn of events since Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United, Mata has convinced ‘the Special One’ that he’s worthy of a new deal at Old Trafford. The 28-year-old is into the final two years of his £130,000-per-week contract and is, according to one of The Sun’s famous ‘sources’, “desperate” to commit himself to the Red Devils, while the club are “keen” to have it all tied up by the New Year.
As we were all made hugely aware of during the summer, Mourinho and Mata don’t have the healthiest long-term relationship. Indeed, during the Portuguese tactician’s second coming at Chelsea, the playmaker was the high-profile casualty of his first six months in the job as he was shipped out to Man United in a £37.1m deal.
It was widely claimed that ‘Mou’ wasn’t a huge fan of Mata’s style of play, with his lack of physicality and tendency to avoid tracking back both underlying issues. Fast-forward to the summer just gone and widespread reports (including this from the Daily Record) claimed that the same fate awaited the now- 28-year-old following Mourinho’s appointment as Old Trafford gaffer.
Of course, we all now know that Mata was not disposed of before Deadline Day, and there were even quiet rumblings of him doing enough to win over Mourinho in August. Such rumblings have been built upon by The Sun, who, while not committing fully, suggest a new deal is likely. A U-turn impossible to predict back in June.
As the stats (courtesy of Squawka) show, Mata has been effective in the Premier League this season. When compared to a handful of his attacking midfield rivals at United, the ex-Chelsea man has made more passes-per-game, completing a greater quantity than any of his rivals in the process. He’s second only to Wayne Rooney in terms of key passes, albeit the number of those turned into assists is low at 0.20-per-game – although this stat is reliant upon those finishing moves off.
— Full Time DEVILS (@FullTimeDEVILS) September 26, 2016
Although not conclusive proof that he’s been in stellar form, Mata’s quiet input has been noticed at Man United. Speaking objectively, we think their XI looks far more balanced and effective with the Spaniard included.