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Squad priorities for the summer:

1. Striker

2. Left-back (assuming Cole/Bertrand leave)

3. Deep midfield (assuming Lampard leaves and no promotion for Chalobah)

4. Centre-back

Lots of talk about Zouma but with Terry, Cahill, Luiz, Kalas, Omeruo we should be ok.

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lzheyi   

Mata is incapable of doing anything wrong in many people's eyes. To be honest, he's a top guy from what I've seen. Genuinely good bloke. But a real champion player would say stay and fight for his place, and then leave in the summer if he couldn't get in.

People are acting like the club forced him out and wanted him to go to United almost deliberately and maliciously. That's wrong.

Mata ASKED to leave, and Jose essentially said he didn't want to go abroad (even if there were offers) but wanted to go to United. Mata asked to leave, Mata wanted to go to United. And with FFP in sight and a bid that large, and a player who wants to go, the best option all round was him to leave. It's not like we're selling Hazard, which would be inexcusable. We are doing fine without Mata in the team.

Frankly, the club and Jose have done everything right. If this was the other way round, we'd be being slated and labelled panic buyers and United would be being praised for behaving correctly. But because it's the opposite way round, that's not happening.

Mata was not a part of United's planning at all when Moyes came in. They are in a bad run, desperate and all their plans seem to have fallen apart. This is a signing to try and lift morale (and there's no gurantee it will) and to make a statement, not part of a strategy. United will get strong again, whether we help them or not, so that argument is irrelivant. And unless they buy three or four big players this window, they won't be challenging us this season. Even next season top three is most likely, rather than winning the title, given how we and City will spend and improve this summer.

We've pretty much got in a new player, more suited to our style of play, and young enough to not demand to play every week, who is talented, for very very little in comparison. Right now we have a £23 million profit this window, taking into account De Bruyne & Mata and the two major incomings. And our squad is stronger, not weaker, overall.

I think we've done the better business - and I suspect there will be one more, most likely Zouma. The club are dealing with this perfectly.

PS: Did anyone see how Jose came back at Wenger, going through all the fixtures saying how Arsenal always get the favourable days and we never do? And of course, it's all based on facts too. Genius.

James,

Mata hasn't given any interview about this transfer and been quiet with this since the news broke out.

the only interview he gave was to this sky spanish journalist few weeks ago (not sure about the reliability)

Only thing we have heard is from Jose.

'Are you happy to join Man utd'

'Yes I am happy'

Those lines do not mean anything to me. What we don't know is the circumstances leading to this conversation and what else in this conversation.

Just a thought.

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xCELERYx   

The more this Mata situation as developed and his move transpiring, the more and more I've felt okay with it. Initially, I wasn't keen on seeing him go to United but now it really doesn't phase me whatsoever. I'm used to clubs selling to rivals on a frequent basis through my following of Juventus, so I've just likened Mata's move to United in a similar vein.

Then when you break it down, it's hard to see how they're going to fit all four of Mata, Rooney, RvP and Januzaj into the same side. Even fitting the three of simply Mata, Rooney and RvP is going to be a struggle when all are fit. One of Rooney or Mata are going to be played out of position on a regular basis. The way United play with more of a wide midfielder, opposed to wingers/wide forwards, isn't going to suit Mata because of his lack of defensive qualities to help cover the fullback. While it would be stiff to leave Januzaj out of the side when he's been the only true positive of their season. The more you look at the deal, the more problems it seems to cause. That's not to say Mata won't provide them with anything, he'll definitely aid their attack. But it will come at a cost.

As for the lies of Shaw joining. I think he's a good player with quality about him. One still needs to remember he's still a kid, but one that's shown the ability already to be a regular in a EPL side that's doing quite well this season. Give him a few more years developing aspects of his game and he'll continue to grow as a player. He's worth the punt, providing he'll see regular game time and maybe service a season alongside A.Cole (if he remains) to help aid his progression. Barkley is also in a similar boat. Both are still too young to really judge just how good they'll be once they hit their mid-20's and prime. We're all aware how the Lampard story went. For the right price, they're attractive additions to a side that is at some point going to need to invest in some English replacements for the impending departures of Terry, Cole and Lampard in the next season or two.

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Karan   

But you should not sell him to manure James. Come on, it's a no-brainer.

No one other than ManU are bidding for him - or no one other than ManU are desperate to bid for him at the price they have. PSG was an alternative - they haven't come back since summer. There was talk of Real Madrid but they've sold off Ozil, got in Isco, settled on a system with Modric pulling the strings. The other option was Atletico but I'd be damned if we sent another player out on loan to them, and they'd not be able to afford Mata's wages.

Mata wants to leave with the intention of more playing time to get into the Spain WC team. This despite him having only 15 games max to play for them - and a minimum of 18 games with Chelsea (excluding FA Cup game v Stoke).

What do you suggest Chelsea have done? Tinker the current system (which is starting to work effectively) to accomodate Mata? Keep him, allow him to leave in summer (which seemed inevitable) and get lower amount?

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Stim   

Excellent article, really nails it. Thanks.

Despite ALL OTHER EVIDENCE not supporting this "Jose never spoke to mata"

It's a hatchet job article by a spanish journo trying to make the spanish player look better.

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DLU   

Despite ALL OTHER EVIDENCE not supporting this "Jose never spoke to mata"

It's a hatchet job article by a spanish journo trying to make the spanish player look better.

It's funny how slimy Balague never omits the opportunity to tell everyone that he's personally spoken to the player. He does it in every of his 'articles', and it makes him sound so full of himself; a bit like he is the chosen one. I am sure Mata or any other player wouldn't tell him anything more than they say in ordinary interviews to the media, which everyone can access.

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I can't see us going after Ross Barkley if the Salah deal comes off. Jose says he wants 6 AMs for the 3 positions with one being a youngster - Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Schurrle and Salah make up 5 of those, and surely aren't going anywhere, with the final place going to someone like Traore or Piazon.

Unless anyone that watches Barkley regularly thinks he could play alongside Matic in the pivot? Can't see it myself

Regarding Mata, one thing that's escaped largely under the radar is Man United's finances. Jose will know whilst Mata improves their team, he's not their glaring weakness and by spending £37m on him, how much does this eat into their Summer budget for other positions?

My guess would be quite heavily which has got to be a good thing.

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England international Rooney is poised to sign a £300,000-a-week contract to remain at Old Trafford until 2018.

62.4MILLION over the 4 seasons (not including bonuses......) hahaha rooney better at extorting money than most con men.....

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England international Rooney is poised to sign a £300,000-a-week contract to remain at Old Trafford until 2018.

62.4MILLION over the 4 seasons (not including bonuses......) hahaha rooney better at extorting money than most con men.....

There's no way we should even contemplate to compete with offers like that.

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But JM has given chances to Mata and quite a few of them. He's not exactly set the world alight in 2013-14 has he? On current form he's not even worth £20m never mind £40m!

I don't feel the chances given to Mata were very consistent, and he was shown he wasn't first choice from the start. From there it's easy to present the more favoured players in a better light over those out of favour, Mata would have to be shooting the lights out at every opportunity, and probably in the first 60 minutes of the games he starts. He popped up a lot late on to take games for us over the last 2 seasons, whereas in this scenario if he doesn't have a great game he's effectively benched for a spell, and in the games he does start he's subbed off, hence the visible frustration. If management doesn't support the player in their primary plans he will always be made to look superfluous over those in favour.

I don't really want to bring up Sturridge as his attitude is vastly in contrast to Mata's, but the lack of opportunities in favoured positions is similar.

I'm sure Mata will do very well in Manchester as he will be played consistently in a situation that in conducive for him to succeed. I don't feel his ability was ever in question throughout, but the lack of constant game-time was the issue.

I feel we would have considered all of this though, and that all things are equal in a market environment, hence if Man Utd didn't sign Mata at a premium price from us, they'd just sign a player of similar ability from someone else. At least when we play against him we would know his strengths and weaknesses intimately. Matic and Ramires will have his number.

Edited by Hulk Smash

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