Earlier today, we posted a piece about Everton boss Ronald Koeman maintaining an interest in Manchester United’s Juan Mata, who remains the subject of murmurs and speculation having been sold by current United boss Jose Mourinho whilst the two were together at Chelsea. The speculation was due to a piece that Caught Offside had translated from Dutch paper De Telegraaf, and if we assume that Everton boss Ronaldo Koeman was the source of the news, then it’s fair to assume that the Toffees retain a significant interest in United’s blogging wonder.
Mourinho’s late substitution of Mata, having only brought him on as a substitute in the second half hardly helped speculation that all is not right between the two. Mata has spent two and a half seasons at United and has become a fan favourite, but he is still widely expected to be down the Portuguese’s pecking order once the season gets going, and first team football may be hard to come by for the 28-year old.
Would United go searching for another attacking talent if Mata were to be sold this month before the transfer window shuts? Potentially not, but with Arsenal reportedly continuing to sniff around Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez, the Algerian is widely expected to leave the King Power Stadium for a fresh challenge having played a gigantic role in bringing the Premier League title to the Midlands.
Could United make a move? Unlikely at this stage, but it could certainly add an extra dimension to Mourinho’s attack. The purchase of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund has left United well-stocked on the right side of attack, but provided Mahrez can usurp club captain Wayne Rooney’s spot in the side (which wouldn’t be a gigantic challenge, giving their differing quality these days), Mahrez could form a highly useful and productive partnership with the Armenian.
Both players are excellent with the ball, are willing to run at their opposition and cut inside, something that could easily see the potential duo swapping back and forth in order to best support United’s striker, be he Marcus Rashford or Zlatan Ibrahimovic depending on the game. Given that the pair bagged 41 goals for their respective clubs between them last season, it could potentially prove a very fruitful partnership, with Mahrez and Mkhitaryan swapping the number 10 and wide right attack roles as they please.
Mourinho is, however, unlikely to want to splash out on another big signing having seemingly completed the core of United’s incoming transfers already. Still. Nice to dream, isn’t it?