Man U moves for Mata; does this up the ante for Arsène?

Numerous reports suggest that Juan Mata has agreed to move to Manchester United, in the process laying waste to two notions about the January transfer-window, perhaps altering the balance of power in the Prem, and begging questions about how Arsène will respond, if at all. Let’s deal with these in order of importance, then, as there are a mere eight days left in the transfer-window.

First, the two notions having been laid waste to are these: one, it is well-nigh impossible to make significant signings in January, even more so in a World Cup year; and, two, any significant transfer-activity happens in the last few days. Should the Mata transfer go through, it’s enough to prove that these notions are wrong. Mata is arguably among the Prem’s most-creative midfielders. having been Chelsea’s Player of the Year two years running, and a £37m move upends any preconceived notions about what’s possible in January. Yes, Mata has been marginalized under Mourinho, but this say more about Mourinho’s priorities than it does about Mata’s abilities. Almost from the moment The Specious One arrived, he’s undermined Mata, just as he undermined Casillas at Real Madrid. As always with Mourinho, it’s about mind-games and manipulation, and shedding Mata might be the kind of power-play that Mourinho makes just to show that he’s in charge. Whatever. I don’t care very much about his mind’s inner-workings. The transfer might be enough to revitalize Man U, launching them back into contention for a top-four spot, if not more. Such a move—in mid-January, no less—proves that squad-changing moves are in fact possible.

On the other hand, Man U did just crash out of the league cup, arguably its last best chance at silverware for the season. This could just be a panic-buy, albeit a very good one. With Wayne Rooney, Shinji Kagawa, and Adnan Januzaj, Man U’s highest priority may not have been another creative force in the midfield. Their more-pressing needs are probably at the defensive end, what with Ferdinand, Vidic, and Evra aging rapidly. It remains to be seen how Mata would slot in and how this would impact other players in the squad. He does not answer some of the most-pressing questions that nag at Man U under Moyes. As creative as Mata is, he does not bring the grit or tenacity that has been lacking as Giggs (not to mention Carrick, among others) has faded and after Scholes has departed. Is this enough to restore Man U to the discussion about who will win the Prem? Probably not. With sixteen games to play and a fourteen-point gap to cover, it’s still too much to vault this Man U side to that level. It might be enough, though, to restore them to the discussion about who will qualify for European competition.

Again, though, I care less about what this means for Man U’s inner workings and more about the implications for our side. If a fading Man U can sign the likes of Juan Mata, surely, we should be able to make a marquee-signing of our own. We’ve long known that we could use another striker to support, if not compete with, Giroud. It might also be nice to find someone who can play center-back or on the right. Seeing that a player of Mata’s quality—already cup-tied in the Champions League and looking to prove himself to his nation—is willing to make a mid-season move lends just a bit of urgency to the talk of us signing the likes of Draxler, Costa, Mandzukic, or Tello.

It’s not so much that we have to be wary of Man U overtaking us, after all, but we do have to look for ways to add meaningful reinforcements as we contend for the Prem title (as well as the FA Cup and Champions League). Giroud is slogging through quicksand, and Bendtner is injured and jaded. Please, Arsène, sign someone significant—for morale and for results.

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11 thoughts on “Man U moves for Mata; does this up the ante for Arsène?

  1. Anonymous

    panic buy. Manure need Mata like I need another hole in my head. yeah it's high profile but that's about it. if they signed a big defender or someone who could boss the midfield I might be worried. this is about headlines not results.

  2. Anonymous

    I don't think this makes Man U serious challengers but it does elevate them to UCL contention. Liverpool is fragile, Spuds are up and down, and Everton are thin. This signing, like it or not, is enough to restore Man U to top-four status. They've struggled to score when they need to, even with Rooney and RvP, the service they'll get from Mata might unleash their powers. I don't think they can close the gap between us and them, but this might be enough to keep them in UCL contention.

  3. Anonymous

    pffft. Man U are 14 points off the pace innit? Moyes is under the cosh, he needs headlines to distract the fans who got fat and lazy under Ferguson, so he signed whoever he can find. of course he goes for Mata who mourinho doesn't rate. no bigs. Man U still cant' defend and will be boring boring.

  4. Anonymous

    This must be a panic buy. Well after years of epl domination,it's surely the end of an empire. All empires and dynasties come and go.It is natural. You can't be top dog all the time.Throwing billions,no,millions won't solve the problem.There could be aleeds meltdon though it's extremely unlikely.But you never know

  5. Anonymous

    When Sunderland got through the lc final,I could not contain my satisfaction .I ran up and down the stairs of my apt.I believe the red face sensed his rd were going downhill and there was nothing he could do. That's why he got the fall guy.Btw,in spite of his epl dominance,he won the cl twice. Both were flukes.Don't be surprised he is recalled to steer the ship.Mu will be lucky to finish 4th.As for winning the cl,forget it. BM will be my tip to win.

  6. Anonymous

    As its a world cup year mata has to play reckon he might make or break united. Panic buy for united though they have kagawa who is a similar player to mata and united couldn't use his talents to the full extent doubt they ll be able to do the same with mata but never no he might be a good buy.

  7. Anonymous

    Chelsea need Mata to help take points from Arsenal, MCFC, Liverpool while giving them chance at the PL. They view MU as no threat.

  8. Anonymous

    One major point that is being overlooked is that CFC has now played ManUre twice, unlike The Arse and Citeh. This is Lukaku mk2, strengthening teams who will have little direct impact on Chelsea's position except by weakening our immediate opponents.

  9. Anonymous

    If he sells Mata, along with the de Bruyne sale, Mourinho will have raised 50M in this transfer window selling 2 good CAMs/wingers. With Hazard, Willian, Oscar, Schürrle, and Lampard, he has enough option on this front. It's likely that he's not going to sit on that cash.What he's lacking is good forward options. If he chips in another 10-20M (as money has never been an issue for Chelsea) he'll have 60-70M for a FW, ie enough to tempt a very good one – à la Hulk or Falcao, plus some change in defence.And then his squad would be complete and good enough to win the league.It does up the ante for us..

  10. Anonymous

    One of the anonymi (11:58pm) is correct. This trade makes little difference to Chelsea because Mourhino feels he has enough talent at midfield, but it makes MU a bit stronger when they face the others that threaten Jose's plan to win the EPL. All he wants is to create distance between his club and the other contenders. He is willing to take the chance that after this year it will not come back to bite him and that seems a safe bet given that MU is on the downslope with more players heading for retirement or on their last legs (figuratively if not literally)

  11. Anonymous

    Well-said. This doesn't detract from Chelsea's options at all, especially given the flair they already have. I don't think it changes their financial considerations very much as Abramovich has already shown that he is more than willing to spend without abandon. It is intriguing to see the conspiracy theory, which does seem to have some legs to it–Chelsea's faced Man U twice already and can safely empower them a bit as we and City still have to face them. Mourinho's definitely cagey enough to have thought that element through…


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