Quick links

Manchester United

Michael Owen: Juan Mata could lose his place in Manchester United XI

Michael Owen believes that Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal may have to sacrifice Juan Mata in order to make space for other attacking players in his team.

Radamel Falcao is the signing of the summer, according to former Manchester United and Liverpool striker Michael Owen.

The Colombia international striker joined United on a season-long loan deal from AS Monaco on transfer deadline day (click here to read more).

The Red Devils have the option to sign Falcao on a permanent contract at the end of the 2014-15 campaign, with Monaco having initially been paid a reported fee of £6 million for the services of the 28-year-old.

Owen, who played for Liverpool, United and Newcastle United among other clubs during his career, has given his opinion on the Manchester outfit’s acquisition of the former Atletico Madrid star.

‘Best signing of the window? Obviously Falcao sticks out and I'm a fan of his but I didn't think it was the position they needed to strengthen’, the 34-year-old former Stoke City star wrote on Sportlobster.com.

Falcao was the seventh signing of the summer for United, following the arrivals of Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Vanja Milinkovic (who has been sent back on loan to FK Vojvodina), Marcos Rojo, Angel di Maria and Daley Blind at Old Trafford.

Former England international Owen believes that United manager Louis van Gaal now has a tough task on his hands to incorporate all these new players into his team, claiming that Juan Mata may not be guaranteed a place in the starting line-up anymore.

‘United now have so many attacking players I'm not sure how they're going to fit them all in’, he wrote. ‘I think that's why they started with the 3-5-2 formation originally so they could accommodate loads of attackers but now I think Van Gaal might sacrifice Juan Mata’.

Mata joined United from Chelsea in January 2014 for a transfer fee of £37.1 million after losing his place in Jose Mourinho’s starting line-up.

The Spain international has not been at his creative best since his switch to Old Trafford and has struggled to be at the top of his game.

However, Mata is a world-class attacking midfielder who can rise to the occasion, and perhaps he will do so now that he will face competition from some genuinely top-quality players at United.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch