Two years on, does Juan Mata find himself in a better position than the one he found himself in at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho?
Both clubs' fortunes have taken a turn for the worse since then. Whilst Manchester United weren't exactly enjoying the most successful point in their history under David Moyes, you could argue it wasn't as bad as their current situation. Chelsea, on the other hand, were undergoing a second coming under Mourinho, but 'The Special One didn't have a place for Mata in his plans.
Juan has featured more regularly for United but now finds himself being kept out by Jesse Lingard on occasions. The 23-year-old from Warrington has played 14 games under Van Gaal this season, and is clearly a favourite of the Dutchman. The winger did suffer an injury earlier in the campaign, but as soon as he recovered he was restored back to the team. Mata had to make do with starting Saturday's game on the bench against Southampton, but he was brought on at half time for Marouane Fellaini.
Mata has appeared in every Premier League game this season contributing three goals and four assists. The 27-year-old Spaniard is certainly a popular player among the Old Trafford faithful. That matter was obviously helped by his fantastic volley against Liverpool at Anfield last season.
At the time of Mata's signing, he was Manchester United's club record transfer and would have a lot to live up to based on previous holders of that title including Rio Ferdinand. The reported fee stated by the likes of the BBC to be £37.1 million seemed about right at the time for a talented player with his best years ahead of him. There have certainly been plenty of transfers since that are questionable in terms of value that make Mata's seem like a bargain. Anthony Martial springs to mind.
Overall during his time at United, Juan Mata has played 68 Premier League games scoring 19 goals for the club. A better return that at Chelsea when he scored 18 in 82. In what has been a difficult transitional period under first Moyes then Van Gaal, the former Valencia and Chelsea midfielder's performances have remained consistent. He has become a reliable player, and one that should continue to be a key component of the team in the years to come. Players like Lingard and Andreas Pereira can learn a lot from Mata, but the situation would certainly be helped if a manager could find a consistent formula to stick to and play Mata in the same position each time.