New arrival signals the beginning of a rebuild
When a player joins a new football club, the word that's mentioned often is "opportunity".
January 28th, 2014
Everything, from the new manager, to new team-mates to a new environment and fans is portrayed to offer the new arrival with a wonderful chance to revitalise his career, prove his former manager wrong, develop into a world class player or a bit of both, depending on who the footballer in question might be.
Juan Mata’s arrival at Manchester United undoubtedly offers the Spaniard a great chance to prove that Jose Mourinho should have kept him in South West London, whilst presenting him the opportunity to cement a place in Spain’s World Cup squad in Brazil come the summer.
The £37m signing, however, represents an even bigger opportunity for David Moyes and Manchester United as a whole.
The United manager has divided opinion since his arrival at Old Trafford, with some fans growing frustrated at the lack of results, while others – albeit they could soon count themselves and find that many have defected to the other side – maintain that the former Everton boss deserves his chance to turn United’s fortunes around.
Moyes now has that opportunity and he must seize it with both hands, for the arrival of Juan Mata could prove to be the first stepping stone in Moyes’ process to rebuild United and mould the squad according to the plan that he – as United fans have been hoping for – has in mind.
The Spaniard might not necessarily be what United need at this moment in time; their midfield still worryingly weak, and their defence a delicate mixture of players in the winter of the careers and others who are still too raw to fulfil the role as expected of them, but Mata’s arrival could be the sort of lucky break Moyes desperately needed and wanted.
“Could” is the keyword here as far as United are concerned, for the most worrying aspect of United’s dismal season has been the utterly pedestrian football they’ve offered; Adnan Januzaj the only shining light of a campaign throughout which United have mastered the ability to pass the ball to wingers who can’t beat their man on a loop.
Signing Mata will undoubtedly lift the morale in the dressing room and on the stands, while offering Moyes and the club some much-needed breathing space, as the United manager has finally proved he can attract the sort of world class players many had thought would be beyond him.
For many, Moyes is the main culprit for United’s dire approach, but Mata’s arrival opens different tactical options for the United manager, who could play the Spaniard alongside Adnan Januzaj and Wayne Rooney in support of Robin Van Persie in a 4-2-3-1 midfield, or further up the pitch in the sort of 4-3-3- formation Jose Mourinho adopted in his first spell at Chelsea.
A player of Mata’s quality and talent could be crucial in helping United on their transition from the archaic football they’ve shown this season onto the more exciting brand of football that’s embodied in club ethos and demanded by the fans, but David Moyes must be bold enough to seize the chance with both hands.