How does £40m target Mata compare to the rest of Manchester United's midfield?

Juan Mata

Juan Mata continues to be linked with a move from Chelsea to Manchester United.

The latest reports have suggested that Manchester United could offer up to £40 million to sign Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata this month, but how does he compare to the other midfielders in David Moyes’ squad?

We’ve compared him to United’s current midfield stars across several different areas.

Goals

PlayerClubPosGoalsAppsMins
Adnan Januzaj Man Utd MF 3 16 1,048
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd MF 2 19 1,413
Tom Cleverley Man Utd MF 1 16 1,250
Ashley Young Man Utd MF 1 11 483

Mata hasn’t scored for Chelsea this season but then he’s been used inconsistently. It’s no surprise to see Januzaj as the highest scoring United midfielder because the side has looked to get possession to him quicker than several other stars across the middle of United’s team.

Assists

PlayerClubPosGoal AssistAppsMins
Adnan Januzaj Man Utd MF 2 16 1,048
Juan Mata Chelsea MF 2 13 834
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd MF 2 19 1,413

One of Mata’s main strengths is his ability to create and provide for others. While he has the same number of assists as Januzaj and Valencia, he’s got a better ratio having played fewer games.

Accurate Passes

PlayerClubPosAccurate PassAppsMins
Michael Carrick Man Utd MF 898 15 1,243
Tom Cleverley Man Utd MF 836 16 1,250
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd MF 618 19 1,413
Marouane Fellaini Man Utd MF 511 11 716
Juan Mata Chelsea MF 473 13 834
Adnan Januzaj Man Utd MF 298 16 1,048
Shinji Kagawa Man Utd MF 272 9 588
Ryan Giggs Man Utd MF 181 9 402
Ashley Young Man Utd MF 168 11 483

There’s no much analysis that can tell us what we don’t already know in terms of Mata’s passing ability. His number is lower but that’s down to fewer games and substitute appearances. He’d be as prolific as anyone else across United’s midfield in terms of passing the ball around accurately and efficiently.

Ball Recovery

PlayerClubPosBall RecoveryAppsMins
Michael Carrick Man Utd MF 121 15 1,243
Tom Cleverley Man Utd MF 103 16 1,250
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd MF 88 19 1,413
Marouane Fellaini Man Utd MF 58 11 716
Adnan Januzaj Man Utd MF 57 16 1,048
Juan Mata Chelsea MF 52 13 834
Shinji Kagawa Man Utd MF 28 9 588

One of the apparent issues Jose Mourinho has with Mata is that he doesn’t do enough to win the ball back and these figures suggest the Portuguese coach may have a point. If United sign him, they’d have to play him with someone who is extremely effective in turning over possession in United’s favour.

Touches

PlayerClubPosTouchesAppsMins
Michael Carrick Man Utd MF 1,220 15 1,243
Luis Antonio Valencia Man Utd MF 1,133 19 1,413
Tom Cleverley Man Utd MF 1,108 16 1,250
Marouane Fellaini Man Utd MF 734 11 716
Juan Mata Chelsea MF 720 13 834
Adnan Januzaj Man Utd MF 705 16 1,048
Shinji Kagawa Man Utd MF 436 9 588
Nani Man Utd MF 367 8 427

Mata would certainly fit into the United midfield in terms of his movement and positioning. He makes himself available in key areas and while he may not do the defensive work, he opens things up on the counter attack and he’d also be useful when United are looking for a way to unlock the opposition defence.

image: © Ben Sutherland

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch