Juan Mata once again seems to be falling out of favour at Manchester United. The Spaniard winger did not play against Tottenham or Chelsea, and there is growing speculation that he could leave the Old Trafford side in the coming weeks. In fact, it has been reported in recent days that Real Madrid could make a shock move for the former Valencia playmaker, according to the Express.
A move to Real Madrid would represent a return to home for the Spanish attacking midfielder. Many do not know this, but the Spanish international started his career with Los Blancos but failed to graduate from Castilla before joining Valencia. He thrived at Los Che before joining Chelsea, and then he joined Manchester United a few years ago. He has been alternating great moments with some really obscure ones, but overall his tenure at Old Trafford has been far more positive than negative.
Los Merengues certainly need a midfielder or two to bolster their side. Surprisingly, they have not been able to replace James Rodriguez after the Colombian star left the side during the summer transfer window to join Bayern Munich. And if we consider Isco has not been able to replicate his form from last season, then the Santiago Bernabeu outfit needs some help in the final third.
But that doesn’t mean United need to sell Mata. Not at all. Parting ways with the Spanish playmaker would be a huge mistake.
Reasons to maintain Mata on the squad
First of all, Mata is a player who is currently going through his prime years. He might not be the best attacking midfielder on the team, but he offers something few other players can. He can move all over the attacking third, either as a n°10 or as a playmaker on the wings. And if that versatility wasn’t enough, Mata also has a lot of experience. He has spent most of his career in the English Premier League, and has also won 41 caps (with 10 goals) for Spain throughout his career.
Contending teams just do not give away players like that. And if United want to build a sustained winner for years to come, Mata should be an integral piece of the puzzle. Even if he doesn’t play regularly, he is an excellent option to have on the bench. And he can also be a mentor for younger attacking midfielders such as Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and even Anthony Martial.
He hasn’t had the best season if we look at the stats, as Mata registers 12 appearances and just one goal across all competitions. And the fact that he didn’t play in the past two games vs Tottenham and Chelsea shouldn’t be a good sign of things to come for him. But United need him. And they should hang on to him no matter what. His experience, talent, and skill set make him a valuable piece to the club not only for the current season, but also for the next few years.