Former midfield maestro Paul Scholes believes Juan Mata has been the best player in the league over the past couple of seasons.
The former Chelsea star has made an immediate impact at United, providing three assists in as many appearances and has completed 92.6% of all his passes – a higher percentage than any other player in the squad.
It was these sorts of figures which made Scholes the player he was. A quiet man from Salford, Scholes went on to become of the greatest players of his generation – thoughts echoed by possession kings Xavi and former Barca boss Pep Guardiola.
The reported £37m may have been a steady amount for a player deemed surplus to requirements at another club, yet Scholes believed the money brought the best player in the Premier League to Old Trafford.
He said of Mata: “For the last couple of years Mata has probably been the best player in the league,”
“We had to pay a lot of money for him and we were very lucky that he wasn’t in Chelsea’s plans, and only we can benefit from him now.”
“Hopefully he can have a strong end to the season and he can help us climb the table.”
Despite the feel good factor regarding Juan Mata’s arrival, disappointing results against Stoke City and Fulham have left Manchester United trailing Liverpool by nine points for that all important fourth spot.
Mata has demonstrated in the past how good he is when receiving the ball in central positions, making Moyes’ tactics against Fulham and Stoke all the more bizarre.
Unfortunately for United, the only player capable of providing that type of service is the same man who is now counting on the Spanish international to help the Red Devils climb the table.
image: © Ben Sutherland