The one huge reason Manchester United are desperate to sign Mata

Manchester United's much-discussed transfer of Juan Mata from Chelsea is needed for one crystal clear reason.

Gary Neville was quick to discuss on Monday night that Juan Mata did not appear a natural fit for Manchester United's system.

With Wayne Rooney first choice to play in the role behind striker Robin van Persie, does David Moyes know how best to utilise him? Does Mata solve the problems in central midfield? Why are Chelsea happy to let him go?

All are valid questions, yet miss the long-term reason why Manchester United are so desperate to secure the Spanish maestro.

Wayne Rooney himself.

Imagine the scene. United miss out on Champions League football and Rooney slaps in a transfer request, or worse, leaves on a free in the summer of 2015.

United will be scratching around trying to find a replacement, likely to be held to ransom and an established star will be difficult to find.

In Mata they have Rooney's long-term replacement, a player ideal for performing behind the striker, and who will ensure any potential departure of the England international does not rock the club.

Mata at 25 is three years Rooney's junior, and is on the ascendancy in terms of his career. Rooney is already a Champions League winner and five-times Premier League champion. The Spaniard will feel like in wake of the snub from Jose Mourinho and struggle to establish himself in Spain's national side, as though he has everything to prove.

Mata is not only an effective insurance against the club being high and dry if Wayne Rooney leaves, he can also complement the Englishman if Robin van Persie suffers further injury woes.

The Dutchman turns 31 in August and has shown real signs of brittleness this season. If David Moyes is concocting a long-term plan for the club, planning it around the Dutchman could be construed as a risky move.

Wayne Rooney has expressed his desire previously to play up front, and could even be tempted to stay, with Mata in behind him if more chances are promised as a main striker.

Mata is a sign of 'commitment' from United they can and will make moves for the very best. Amid all the concern regarding Wayne Rooney yet to open talks over a new contract at the club, there's no doubting his impending signature would be a very shrewd move.

image: © nasmac

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