Former Leicester City and Derby County midfielder Robbie Savage has written off Manchester United’s chances of winning the Premier League title this season.
The ‘Match of the Day’ pundit has also claimed that Juan Mata could be the one to make way for the summer’s big signings in Louis van Gaal’s starting line-up.
Writing in The Mirror, the 39-year-old former Wales international explained: ‘Can they (United) win the title from here? No chance...
‘In my opinion, a top four place is the best the Old Trafford club can hope for now. And panic buying or not, Van Gaal’s spending spree may leave Juan Mata out in the cold...
‘For me, if he sticks with that 3-4-1-2 shape, the personnel likeliest to fit into it are: De Gea; Rojo, Jones, Smalling; Shaw, Blind, Herrera, Di Maria; Rooney; Van Persie, Falcao’.
Interestingly, former United and Liverpool striker Michael Owen made a similar observation about Mata losing his place in Van Gaal’s line-up just a few days ago, claiming that the Dutchman may have to ‘sacrifice’ the Spain international (click here to read more).
Attacking midfielder Mata was signed by United from Chelsea for £37.1m in January to add more creativity. The link between midfield and attack, the 26-year-old former Valencia star has yet to spark into life at Old Trafford under Van Gaal and may have to accept changing his position if he wants to keep his place in the team.
Another observation that Savage makes about United’s new-look starting XI is the significance of the two central midfielders: Ander Herrera (signed from Athletic Bilbao for £29m in June) and Daley Blind (recruited from Ajax for £14m on transfer deadline day).
‘In that formation, the two most important players would be Daley Blind and Ander Herrera - Van Gaal has put together an attacking force of frightening ability, but out of possession there will be a high premium on screening the back three’, wrote Savage.