The Premier League champions failed in numerous pursuits to sign a world class midfielder this summer – the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Ander Herrera stayed put and David Moyes ended up signing the roundly unpopular Marouane Fellaini on deadline day.
Flash-forward to January and the Red Devils are understood to be hot on the heels of out of favour Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata who has failed to cement his place in the starting line up this term following the return of Joe Mourinho to Stamford Bridge.
However, as much as Mourinho may not be Mata’s biggest fan, it cannot be denied he is one of the best midfielders on the continent as evidenced by his astonishing 18 goals and 34 assists in all competitions for the Blues last season under Rafael Benitez.
The 25-year-old was only an integral part in Chelsea’s 2011/12 Champions League title win under Roberto Di Matteo and, lest we forget, his goal scored in the final of the European Championships for Spain in 2012.
However, with his fortunes having changed significantly at Chelsea this season, Mata could find it hard to convince Vincent del Bosque to include him in the Spain squad for the World Cup this summer – he is going to need to find regular first-team football and fast.
United undoubtedly need a player of his quality but the question remains as to whether Mourinho would be foolish enough to strengthen Manchester United – whilst the champions look unlikely to retain the title this term, they could very well be resurgent next term if they bring in a few additions in the summer and signing Juan Mata could be the linchpin. Why would the Blues boss be so foolish?
Unless, of course, Mourinho knows something Manchester United boss David Moyes doesn’t…
Mata could well be hoping for a return to Spain – he has also been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid who are engrossed in a La Liga title fight at present – and, given the option of playing right under the nose of Del Bosque ahead of the World Cup in Brazil this summer, wouldn’t you expect him to take it over a move to the struggling champions of England?
Then again, Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with increasing interest in Mata – the French champions in the French capital could perhaps be an alluring option for the midfielder. Selling such a talent to a foreign suitor would surely be a brighter option for Mourinho that a direct domestic rival?
I have a sneaking suspicion Mourinho is wasting Moyes’ time knowing full well how desperately United need a player like Juan Mata and knowing full well how arduous it is to agree big deals in January. In my humble opinion I firmly believe Mourinho is toying with Moyes over Mata with no intention whatsoever of selling him to the Red Devils.
I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to see David Moyes haggle over the ‘deal’ for the remainder of the January transfer window only for Mourinho to pack Mata off to Paris or Madrid on deadline day, leaving Moyes in the lurch without a hope of saving the season at Manchester United.