Chelsea playmaker Mata is expected to complete his move to Old Trafford today, after United agreed a £37m fee for the Spanish international.
His arrival is a move in the right direction for David Moyes' side, who had a disappointing summer transfer window and were in need of a big signing to appease a disgruntled fanbase – particularly after their embarrassing Capital One Cup exit to Sunderland in midweek.
But whilst Mata has proven he is one of the finest players in the Premier League, many are suggesting that the former Valencia man won't solve the problems that United have in the heart of midfield, with Mata expected to play further forward – and Redknapp concurs, suggesting that Mata will not solve all of United's problems.
“He’s a magician of a player, has a fantastic attitude and he can thread a pass through the eye of a needle. He’s a match-winner, but make no mistake, he’s not the answer to all of United’s problems. His arrival is a statement of intent but it’s just papering over the cracks at the moment.”
Redknapp also suggests that Moyes needs to completely overhaul his squad, and that the signing of Mata is a step in the right direction, with experienced players set for the exit. In their absence, Mata could become the catalyst for the rebuild, according to Redknapp, who thinks Mata could have a similar impact to Robin van Persie at Old Trafford.
“United need an overhaul to get back to the top and they are still short of five or six top-quality players. With the likes of Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand all potentially leaving in the summer, it will be a big rebuilding project. But signing Mata is a good start.” said Redknapp.
When Robin van Persie joined, United had won nothing the previous year. He was the catalyst, the player who made the difference and fired them to the league title. Mata could have a similar impact and if he gets United into the top four, it will be just as big an achievement.”
One of the main questions surrounding Mata's impending arrival is where exactly the Spanish international will play, having featured heavily as a #10 at Chelsea – the position where Wayne Rooney has played for many years at Manchester United. But Redknapp says that players as good as Mata can fit in anywhere, and offered a number of possible tactical solutions to Moyes – who, at this point, will probably take any advice he can get.
“People say he’s not a United player or doesn’t fit their philosophy but what is their current philosophy? Good players adapt and United can be flexible to get the best out of their attacking players.” said Redknapp.
“They could easily go with a midfield diamond with Mata at the top of it behind Rooney and RVP, or he could play in a wider role. As long as Moyes restores his confidence he could play Mata anywhere across the front because he is expert at playing in between the lines.”