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Transfer Truth: The Truth on Mata to Manchester United

Posted on Jan 23rd, 2014 by Araz Heydariyehzadeh

The biggest transfer rumour doing the rounds like late night curb crawler, is that of once loved Juan Mata departing Mourinho's cold neglect for the warming embrace of David Moyes at Manchester United. Is there really any truth to this?

Mata: Truth: 20%
Whilst there is no doubting that European and World Cup winner Juan Mata is of world class quality there are some highly dubious half truths preventing this one from being little more than total transfer window tale telling. Even so the BBC have very recently all but confirmed that the deal is going through, even going as far as quoting a price of £37m having been agreed. Sky Sports, The Guardian, The Telegraph and multiple other reputable sources are also reporting with the same vigour that the deal is done, all seemingly pumped up by the fact that Mata missed training on Wednesday.

The Facts
The facts we know are that of course Mata may not be pleased with his sudden and seemingly inexplicable fall from grace at Chelsea, and that a player of his quality will not want to be sitting it out in the cold in a world cup year and nor should he. Anyone who has watched the season unfold can also confirm that Manchester United are in need of fresh faces, and preferably big names who can make an impact this season but these are obvious, and have been known for some time. Sadly this is pretty much where the supply of facts runs dry, making the intense reporting of the story even more baffling.

The Whispers From Intermediaries
The main basis of nearly every story doing the rounds is a mysterious, unnamed 3rd party only referred to as "intermediaries" who have all but sealed the deal despite Manchester United officially refusing to discuss any transfer rumours and Jose Mourinho categorically stating that Mata has a future at Chelsea in an interview with the BBC just 5 days ago:

He (Mata) is an unbelievable player, a fantastic boy and he's trying to adapt...I like him very much, the club likes him very much and we believe he has a very big role to play with us and that's why I don't want him to go.

With this at hand we can't believe that this could be little more than classical transfer window hysteria. The search for hard facts from the player, his agents, or the clubs involved turned up nothing to support the notion of a transfer being on the cards.

Lack of Logic
The other part of the story, which is largely being ignored is whether or not Mata is actually the player United need. With Moyes' current system Van Persie plays up top and a critical part of Moyes' victory in getting Rooney to stay and bringing him back to form was an assurance that the England man would play in the number 10 role to which he's best suited.

Mata of course is also best suited to that number 10 role or as a winger in a 3 man attack. A system which United have rarely adopted under Moyes. United's current system simply does not have room to deploy Mata in his most effective positions and Moyes would need to change to a 4-3-3 with Rooney dumped back out wide or to a 4-2-3-1 like the one Chelsea used to play in seasons past. Unless Moyes is planning to call time on his current system and change everything to accommodate Mata, he simply does not fit the rather lengthly bill of United requirements right now, especially given that Januzaj, the player most likely to lose his position in the current set up if Mata was to arrive, looks ready for the big time.

And then of course there is the kamikaze notion that Mourinho would sell such a highly regarded asset to a team that will then use him to challenge Chelsea for honours in season to come.

Even though every man and his dog are calling this one confirmed we could find no hard facts to support the rumour or even hint that there might be good truth to it. Add to that the fact that Mata could be part of the solution that helps United become genuine title contenders again and you would have to conclude that Mourinho would be suicidally short sighted to sell such an outstanding player to Manchester United so we're giving this one very low, but remotely possible truth rating of just 20%.

Likeliness of Signing: 20%
Fit at Club: 65%

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