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Why signing Juan Mata will solve none of Man Utd’s problems

| 22.01.2014

News that emerged with the morning papers will be music to the ears of many disgruntled Manchester United fans, as it was revealed the club are preparing to break their club record transfer fee for Chelsea exile Juan Mata.

With United lumbering in seventh place in the Premier League, six points off the European places, it’s currently a 3/1 possibility that David Moyes manages to guide his new club into the top four at the end of the season.

It means new recruits are undoubtedly the order of the January transfer window and it seems the Old Trafford club are finally about to make their move, with the two-time Chelsea player of the year the intended target.

The arrival of the Spaniard would not be the answer to the suffering United fans’ prayers, though. When all players are fit and ready, Mata would not overhaul Wayne Rooney from the number 10 role, which is the Chelsea man’s preferred position.

Rooney has been one of the standout performers in the league this season while operating behind the striker, leaving the former Valencia midfielder to ply his trade out wide, just like he’s had to at Stamford Bridge this season.

Not naturally a wide man, United would therefore not be getting the best out of Mata by playing him from the wing, the role that has led to his Chelsea problems, and the emergence of Adnan Januzaj means that touchline-huggers are not a commodity that Moyes desperately needs.

Unsuited to playing alongside Michael Carrick in deeper central midfield as well, signing Mata wouldn’t solve Moyes’ problems and would only serve to extend the transitional period as they try to accommodate him.

Instead the Scot would be better served trying to find his very own Roy Keane, an all-action midfielder who can disrupt play, get forward and be the heartbeat of the side. If only Paul Pogba was still around.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.