Monday 18 April 2016

United midfielder Juan Mata facing uncertain future

Juan Mata has reason to be slightly worried.

The Spanish midfielder is under contract at United until 2018 but he's still facing an uncertain future at Old Trafford. 

He wants to stay- we know because he says as much every time he's asked.

He's got close friends at United in Ander Herrera and David de Gea and he enjoys living in Manchester.

Ultimately, though, the decision about whether he stays or goes may not be his.

He doesn't yet know who United's manager will be next season.

It's unlikely but possible it could be Louis van Gaal, whom has spent the last year insisting he needs more pace in his forward line.

Or it could be Jose Mourinho, the man who sold Mata to United in the first place.

Mata would be too polite to admit it but neither option would feel that appealing.

Despite Van Gaal's desire for quicker forwards, most of Mata's games in the last year have been as a right winger.

He had a good time at Anfield at the end of last season- scoring twice in a 2-1 win- but often it's looked like a square peg in a round hole- an uncomfortable fit for a player who thrives on creative freedom.

The sight of Danny Rose surging past him again and again during the 3-0 defeat at White Hart Lane two weeks ago was painful viewing.

He was substituted 15 minutes from time and was on the bench for the 2-1 at West Ham three days later, but was back on the right wing for Saturday's win over Villa.

Two years ago, his time at Chelsea came to an end when Mourinho decided Oscar was the better no.10.
He suggested Mata would have to compete for a place in one of the wide positions but hinted he didn't possess the tactical responsibility to do so effectively.

In the end Mourinho decided he do without the Spaniard whom had been voted the club's player of the season two years in a row.

Chelsea's fans may be upset that Mourinho sold both Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne but, whilst a popular and likeable figure, Mata's departure wasn't mourned in the same way.

Van Gaal has made no secret of his desire to buy a quick, creative winger if he is allowed to stay this summer.

Equally, if Mourinho comes in there will be further questions about Mata's role in this team.

Exactly what United's immediate future looks like is still unclear.

So too is Mata's place in it. 

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