The statistic that suggests United would be foolish to sell £37m man

Juan Mata could be heading out the Manchester United exit door in January, despite only arriving eight short months ago.

The Spaniard has seemingly been marginalised by the arrival of expensive new boys Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, with Louis van Gaal facing the difficult task of fitting his plethora of attacking talent into the same starting line-up.

According to reports in Italy, Serie A champions Juventus will submit a loan bid for the attacking midfielder when the transfer window re-opens in January. 

Massimiliano Allegri's side will allegedly watch developments closely and then move for Mata if they successfully progress to the knock-out stages of the Champions League. After all, he will be eligible to play in European competition due to United's failure to qualify.

It is now crunch time for Louis van Gaal, who must now evaluate the Spaniard's worth to the club, but first he may want to consider the following statistic: 

In just 17 starts, Mata has netted on seven occasions, contributing a further four assists. Furthermore, prior to the club's 0-0 draw with Burnley, he had scored in all but one of his previous eight Premier League appearances - a spell stretching either side of the summer. 

Since Mata joined the Red Devils for £37 million in January, you can easily argue that he has been the club's best player, contributing to the club's efforts in the final third on a very regular basis. 

The question is, can van Gaal find a system that allows for Falcao, Rooney, van Persie, Mata and Di María in the same team? The immediate response would have to be no, and if that proves to be true, the Spaniard may be the player who is sacrificed. 

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