Manchester United are reportedly ready to trigger the contract extension clause of Juan Mata, whose contract runs down at the end of the season. This move is extremely vital for the Red Devils given that a failure in acting quickly regarding the contract situation means the player will be open to talks with other clubs in January regarding a move. Mata who has been on and off the pitch this season being used sparingly by Mourinho is attracting interests from China and surprisingly Real Madrid.
A contract extension does not necessitate José Mourinho to make do with the player until 2019. But what the move does is it provides the Portuguese manager time to assess his options and the manner he wants to go about building this United side.
As one would imagine, the contract extension is a mere impulse decision to ensure the player does not leave for free in the summer given that he costs €46 million. The player who was Premier League’s assist king back in his days at Chelsea now finds life tough at Old Trafford.
A lot has to be spoken with regard to the position he is being deployed in the United squad. He is often played out wide on the right that restricts the kind of vision one would have when used centrally. Statistically speaking, the Spaniard has 55 assists coupled with 35 goals in his 140 games as a centre attacking midfielder.
The baton has been passed on to Henrikh Mkhitaryan since his arrival from Dortmund. As a result, Mata’s role dried dissolved gradually. He was utilized in the central role by José on just 5 occasions where he grabbed a goal and 2 assists. It is quite evident that it is a position that the World Cup winner thrives on and is naturally gifted to play in.
Mkhitaryan’s form faded away since his goal against Everton. United have since played 6 League games none of which the Armenian has had any say. As all know, José is a man to put excellent use of his sparse resources. For a manager with such high reputation, a small tweak in the line up could aid him well. Usage of Mata for the Armenian would be no experimentation given the Spaniard’s accolade in the central role.
Mata is still a great asset for Manchester United but his labour will be most resourceful when utilized in the right area. With a large chunk of the season yet to be played, a contract extension seems the right option not just because the player will not be allowed to empty his lockers for free, but also the opportunity for José to find the right mix in the squad with Mata playing a pivotal role.
Do you think Mata should be given a contract extension?