United's Mata link could push RvP or Rooney toward exit, says Liverpool legend

Ex Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes Chelsea star Mata's best position is in the hole, meaning one of Manchester United's strikers could leave.

Should Manchester United acquire Juan Mata, for £37m, on a permanent basis then David Moyes would unlikely position him out wide, where his playmaking talents are less effective, but in the middle, just behind a striker, meaning one of Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie could be sacrificed.

That is the view of Liverpool legend and former centre back Jamie Carragher, who believes that the Chelsea player would have to play, regularly, if Moyes were to spend that much money on him whilst making the allusion that a side featuring all three of Rooney, van Persie and Mata would represent too much of a formation shift, to incorporate a diamond, or Christmas Tree set-up.

'I'm not being mischevious,' Carragher proclaimed on Sky Sports recently, his face an expression of seriousness a matter of minutes after jokingly recommending United make a return to sign a former Red Devil such as Eric Djemba-Djemba or Kleberson.

'For Mata, that's a lot of money but I like him as a player. I was a bit perplexed with how he started the season, is it a worry to buy him when he can't get into the Chelsea team?

'If he's [Moyes] spending that much money, he has to play and he has to play off the front - does that mean one of the strikers goes in the summer?'

Both Rooney and van Persie have been speculatively linked with Old Trafford exits in the summer as, in the case of the former, Wayne's contract expires in 2015 and with no statements that a contract would be readily signed, the club may well cash-in while they can still receive a favourable sum in six months.

With van Persie… well, he cited a lack of competitiveness and a desire for trophies as his reason to leave Arsenal and, considering the possibility of finishing outside the top four in the Premier League for the first time in his career, Robin could explore his options.

image: © gordonflood.com

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