€40m star would have been better for Manchester United than Mata

Ivan Rakitic

Did Manchester United spend their money on the wrong man?

Juan Mata's recent lack of impact has not gone unnoticed in recent weeks at Manchester United, with no goals or assists in his last six appearances.

Paul Scholes told SkySports earlier in the week Mata's lack of goals had been disappointing, while against Manchester City he did not contribute a single key pass, the first time this had happened for him in a United shirt since arrival.

An attacking midfielder, there were doubts over where he would fit in prior to his arrival, expressed eloquently by Gary Neville before the deal was done, and so far the Spaniard has often found himself played out of position in wide areas.

Certainly it raises questions over United's recruitment policy. Did United simply buy the name, rather than a player who fits? Did they see him available, decide to splurge a record fee, and then worry about where he would fit in?

It's too early to write him off clearly, and David Moyes may have a masterplan, but if the Red Devils wanted to spend £37 million on a player to make an impact right away, evidently they secured the services of the wrong man.

A player who would have been a far better acquisition for United, available at even cheaper, was Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Rakitic is a player we have talked up many a time before, and last night the Sevilla midfielder illustrated his talent with a game-winning assist against Real Madrid, another devastating blow for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

The central midfielder has an impressive 11 goals and 12 assists this season, and is equally happy drifting out wide and delivering crosses as he is getting involved centrally, and taking set pieces.

He has been linked to the Red Devils previously, and has a release clause in his contract of £33 million (€40m). 

With fans at Old Trafford crying out for a central midfielder who can get hold of the game, score goals and create, then surely he would have been a more logical spend than Juan Mata - and certainly a more productive one than Marouane Fellaini.

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