Manchester United find the new Paul Scholes

We can’t understand this idea about Juan Mata not fitting into the Manchester United team, if he joins the club.

Gary Neville was the main protagonist in the argument when asked what he thought of the potential Manchester United signing. He said:

‘The first question, I think, is where are you going to play? Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are up top if they are fit so where are you going to play him? Are you going to play him off the left or off the right?

‘Maybe they have to change the philosophy and maybe that’s what David Moyes is thinking. Maybe he wants to play narrow wide players and maybe a three in midfield.

Yes, Mata could play as number 10 or wide of a narrow 3 in a 4-2-3-1. But to suggest that Manchester United would have to change their style completely, in order to accommodate him, hugely undervalues the quality of the player.

Who says he can’t play in central midfield next to Micheal Carrick? He has all the attributes to be a sensational central midfielder in the Xavi/Iniesta mould – Mata’s a bit of both.

The Spaniard is a sensational passer of the ball, long and short. He reads the game beautifully and can control the entire tempo of a match. Everything should go through him. He also scores goals – lots of them. So what’s the problem?

The obvious argument is that he doesn’t have the physical presence or tackling ability to play in the centre of the park. Rubbish. Was Paul Scholes a man mountain who was able to tackle? No. He was a diminutive player who won more red cards than balls in the tackle. And, lest we forget, Scholes also began his career as a forward. The tackling, shackling job can be given to Micheal Carrick leaving Mata to control possession, orchestrate attacks and generally ‘run tings’ from the middle of the park – just like Scholes did.

Manchester United wanted Cesc Fabregas in the summer. He’s exactly the same sort player as Mata and Moyes would have had no qualms at all with playing Fabregas in the middle of the park.

So for us, Mata is the long awaited answer to Paul Scholes. A goal scoring midfielder of pure class, vision and technique.

Moyes simply has to play Mata as his creative midfielder in the middle of the park.

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