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Manchester United Confirm Signing Of Juan Mata; How United Should Line Up With Mata

juan mata Manchester United Confirm Signing Of Juan Mata; How United Should Line Up With Mata

Juan Mata’s move to Manchester United, the biggest January transfer made by a Premier League club in three seasons, has been officially confirmed by the Old Trafford club. All that remains is Mata passing a medical and agreeing personal terms for the deal to be completely finalized.

The Chelsea perspective on the deal is now clearer from a soccer perspective particularly after the signing of Mohamed Salah from FC Basel.

For Manchester United, this deal makes plenty of sense much like the arrival of Mesut Özil lifted the sagging spirit among Arsenal supporters, Mata’s signing is likely to do the same for United. David Moyes needs a boost to his image and the Mata signing proves the former Everton Manager can secure big names in the same fashion his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson did.

Acquiring Mata will make it easier to part with Wayne Rooney if the Englishman continues to avoid signing a new contract with the club. Rooney is one of the world’s finest footballers when fit, but in between his spells of petulance, injuries and his advancing age, Mata’s addition will make it much easier to sell him on. But for now Rooney remains a Manchester United player.

However, Mata’s unwillingness to do the defensive work required by Jose Mourinho likely means that Manchester United will have to deploy two pure defensive minded midfielders behind him. This simply does not work if Rooney is fit and available for selection and could impede the development of Adnan Januzaj. However an option is to play without any wingers and line up like this and count on the fullbacks to provide width.

Rafael  Jones Vidic  Evra
Carrick Fletcher/Felaini
Mata  Januzaj

This is more or less a 4-2-2-1-1 or a 4-2-3-1 formation. Either way, the wingers the Red Devils have signed in previous seasons, such as Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Nani, are not needed in this setup.

It is a radical departure from how David Moyes has set up his teams both at Everton and now at Manchester United. However, being forced to integrate a player of Mata’s quality and skill set while still having Wayne Rooney under contract may force this sort of tactical rethink from the Manchester United Manager.

One thing is for sure. Media scrutiny on Moyes will continue and perhaps even intensify (if that is possible) depending on how Mata is integrated into the playing squad.

For more Red Devils coverage, read the Manchester United team page for news, analysis and opinion. 

This entry was posted in Chelsea, Leagues: EPL, Manchester United. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

9 Responses to Manchester United Confirm Signing Of Juan Mata; How United Should Line Up With Mata

  1. Ken says:

    Rooney,Mata,Januzaj and RVP will be tripping over each other. Zero width.

  2. Flyvanescence says:

    Manchester City won the title playing a front 4 of Silva, Tevez and Nasri behind Aguero or Dzeko. Arsenal usually use a similar front 4 setup.

    Fullbacks provide width. Defensive midfielders cover. Its not that complicated.

  3. Dean Stell says:

    Did you see in the Sunderland game how nicely Januzaj, Kagawa and Rafael played after they all found themselves on the right after set pieces? That was lovely (at least until Kagawa got tired after 20 minutes). Obviously, Moyes didn’t see it because he sent Kagawa back to the left where he only had Buttner to play with. I wonder if Moyes can find a way to keep his creative players apart?

  4. Paul says:

    Moyes is raiding the piggy bank with the £22.5m bid for Luke Shaw! No money at Everton and now he must think he’s dreaming.

  5. Guy says:

    We will see just how much creativity and flexibility Moyes has. It really does all hinge on that.

  6. mbrocks says:

    Bench: AV, CH, DW, AL

  7. San Fransiscan says:

    technically Man United didn’t sign him yet, there is a medical and the agreement on personal terms left. But it looks like a done deal.

  8. jazmyn says:

    man u should Pray! Otherwise i see No change. Ur fullbacks can’t provide d back up necessary for that kind of formation

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