Daily Debate: Mata the man for United?

With Manchester United linked to a mega bid for Juan Mata, two TEAMtalk writers debate whether the playmaker is what David Moyes really needs.

Last Updated: 21/01/14 at 17:55 Post Comment

Juan Mata: Can the Chelsea playmaker fix United's problems

Juan Mata: Can the Chelsea playmaker fix United's problems

In Daily Debate, two TEAMtalk writers give their views on a hot topic and then invite readers to decide who has put forward the best argument.

You can vote for your winner using the story comment facility at the bottom of the article, or by declaring your support on Twitter.

Would United be wise to offer £37million for Mata?

Reports on Tuesday have claimed that Moyes is extremely interested in Chelsea's out-of-favour playmaker, with suggestions being made of a club-record bid for the Spaniard.

Would it be a smart move from the struggling champions? James Marshment and Ian Watson have their say...

YES - James Marshment

I don't care about where he would fit into Manchester United's side, if you get the chance to sign a player of Juan Mata's obvious class, you take it.

OK, Gary Neville was right to question where he'd fit in alongside Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney but I'm firmly of the belief that quality players can play along side each other no matter what.

I'll draw your attention to a key stat: Since August 2011, Juan Mata has 27 Premier League assists, second only to David Silva and four more than Wayne Rooney.

Somone remind me again what it is that United are said to be lacking? Oh yes, that's right, a creative spark in midfield and at £37million - you'd be hard pushed to find much better in this day and age.

Some might argue that's Adnan Januzaj's role, but you could still accommodate the youngster in the side, when required, on the left side of midfield. That creative edge would unseat many a defence.

I'd also say Manchester United are in massive need of a lift wherever they can get it right now. Mata's signing would do that - and I'd compare it to Mesut Ozil's arrival at Arsenal. He might not always be their best player, but having him around the place lifted Arsenal - and Mata could have a smilar effect at United and help take the club out of the doldrums.

State your support for James using the story comment facility below or by tweeting the hashtag #YesMata to @TEAMtalk

NO - Ian Watson

Moyes insists there will be no panic buying at Manchester United this month, but any bid of close to £37million for a player who does not retain Jose Mourinho's confidence reeks of more than a little desperation.

And while 'desperate' is an apt way to describe Moyes' present predicament and his transfer dealings as United boss, Mata's big name and fatter fee would only serve to mask more pressing needs elsewhere in United's ranks.

United have lacked their customary fluidity and imagination since Moyes took over, but that seems to be as much down to the way the players are being used, rather than a lack of creative flair within the squad. This is, after all, the same group which cantered to the title last year, plus rookie Adnan Januzaj, who has been the only positive of Moyes' reign so far.

Moyes' biggest problem lies a little deeper - specifically, at the base of his midfield.

With Paul Scholes having retired - this time for good - United do not have a player to complement Michael Carrick. The England midfielder needs someone alongside him who can help to shield United's fragile back four and dictate the tempo of their play when the champions do win possession.

Marouane Fellaini's qualities do not lend themselves to that role and while Tom Cleverley may believe he is the type of player United need, he is certainly not of the requisite quality. Nor was the now-departed Anderson and Phil Jones has made it quite clear that he sees himself as a centre-half.

The return of Darren Fletcher is a wonderful thing for many reasons, not least because he is exactly what United have missed. But the manager cannot yet say with any certainty whether or not the Scot can be relied upon to play 40 games a season, such was the severity of his illness.

If only to give Carrick and Fletcher cover and competition, Moyes has to address the base of his midfield before he looks at breaking the club record transfer fee on a luxury playmaker.

Yohan Cabaye is the name that stands out, and if the Newcastle star was good enough for Arsenal in the summer, he has to be of interest to United now.

Yann M'Vila is another Frenchman whose qualities United lack. The Rubin Kazan midfielder has been linked with Liverpool, Napoli and PSG this month and is the type of dynamic presence which Moyes must crave. He has had issues since he was rated in the £20-30million bracket at Rennes, not least being banned from international duty by France after an unauthorised night out while on Under-21 duty. But the 23-year-old would be available for probably less than half a Fellaini and, crucially, he has a point to prove.

Moyes insists his aims are clear for the summer window and persists with the notion that January is a tricky time to buy. But unless United find short-term fixes, his long-term vision will be extremely tough to implement when top class targets do not want to join a club that is not in the Champions League.

Mata would further United's top four chances, sure. But he is certainly not the answer to Moyes' problems - especially at £37million.

State your support for Ian using the story comment facility below or by tweeting the hashtag #NoMata to @TEAMtalk.

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