Why Louis van Gaal would be mad to sell Juan Mata

Old Trafford

Juan Mata has been linked with the Manchester United exit after less than a year at the club. Here is why he should not be sold at any price.

A number of Manchester United fans will find themselves extremely unhappy based on today’s transfer gossip columns.

If reports are to be believed, club record signing Juan Mata could be the first victim of Louis van Gaal’s new Manchester United regime as Barcelona look to swoop for the talented midfielder.

With Luis Enrique kick-starting plans for his rebuilding project with the Catalan club, a bid of £40million has been suggested for the Spaniard, who only arrived at Old Trafford from Chelsea in January.

Van Gaal, famous for his single-minded approach, is allegedly willing to listen to serious offers as he evaluates his current playing options, but is Mata really an expendable asset? I would argue, definitely not.

It is well known that the ex-Bayern Munich coach prefers to play with one play-maker behind the main striker and, based on this approach, Wayne Rooney would be utilised in the number 10 role, while Robin Van Persie would retain a place in the starting XI as striker and possible captain.

For me, Mata is significantly better than Rooney when playing just behind the lone forward. Therefore, he should be the man who is retained and afforded the star player treatment that his English team mate has wrongfully grown accustomed to.

After all, if Barcelona are interested in securing the play-maker's signature, there is obviously something about him. He was crowned as Chelsea’s Player of the Season on two occasions, earning recognition for his contribution in the club’s Champions League and Europa League success. He is also a World Cup and European Championship winner, having conquered the international stage with Spain.

Mata has shown glimpses of his quality since leaving Chelsea just after Christmas, but, while playing in a lacklustre David Moyes team, he has never really been supported by the quality that you would usually expect of a world-class United side.

The Spaniard scored six goals in 15 appearances during the latter half of the season, while weighing in with five assists; a respectable start to his Old Trafford career. The addition of a few quality players during the summer months will only assist his chances of prosperity ahead of next campaign - a campaign in which the club will be hoping to mount a title challenge to compensate for the embarrassment endured over the last year.

Mata is two years Rooney’s junior and is already the superior player, as far as I am concerned. He is the creative talent United have sought after for years and, ultimately, allowing him to depart would be preposterous.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch