Juan Mata may be sidelined for Angel di Maria , according to Sky Sports' Tony Gale
Last Updated: 29/08/14 8:35pm
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata may be sidelined as competition for places at Old Trafford intensifies following the arrival of Angel di Maria from Real Madrid, according to Sky Sports pundit Tony Gale.
Gale believes that the Spaniard, who United signed from Chelsea for a then club-record £37.1million fee in January 2014, may be sacrificed to make way for the Argentina midfielder and questioned why Jose Mourinho sold him to United in the first place.
Speaking to The Morning View, Gale explained: “He (Mata) could be the one to go and obviously he wasn’t a Louis van Gaal signing. I go back to Mourinho selling him, Mourinho only sells for a reason and for me you look at Juan Mata the good players that he is has he got that dynamism that you need in that kind of role?
“Di Maria has because he’ll drop his shoulder go past someone and he’ll break through lines with running the ball. Mata’s more of a passer of the ball, keeping it moving. I call him a poor man’s David Silva, I don’t think he’s as good as Silva.
“I wonder whether he could be the one that’s making way or whether he (Van Gaal) will say to him go in a wider position in a new system. I think Mata is the one going to be in danger.
“I wonder where he’s going to play di Maria and if he’s going to play the same system. If he’s playing a 3-5-2 system with square pegs in round holes in Ashley Young at left wing back, for instance, then I think he’s probably going to have to change his system for di Maria.
“You’ve got Mata, Rooney and Van Persie. Those three you would think have to play now all of a sudden you’ve got to put another maverick in there. Now there are four mavericks and that doesn’t make you so solid, maybe a change of system is going to come up as well.”
Responding to reports that United are chasing a number of new signings, including former Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong, Gale confirmed that Van Gaal may still needs to make further additions to his squad.
“In terms of players in, they are obviously desperate for centre backs, absolutely desperate,” Gale added.
“We’ve seen that if he wants to play three at the back he’s two centre backs short so he’s go to get another for me before this window.
“They’ve got to look around all around the world they are there, the centre backs the players are there your scouting network has got to provide it.
“Interestingly Manchester City let him (de Jong) go and City fans may be laughing at that one I think. Obviously de Jong is that type of player they need, holding in midfield. Carrick is a big miss he’s not going to back for a few months yet and you look in the midfield area Herrera’s come in he’s got to take time to settle.
“Going back to Darren Fletcher who’s had a long-term illness, all of a sudden there are massive problems and you’re talking about down the spine of the side. He’s got to get them in the transfer market but once Carrick comes back I think it will sort out a few problems for him.”
Gale argued that a number of players may need moving on from Old Trafford before the window closes but he says it would be difficult for players on big money to find suitors elsewhere.
Football agent Barry Silkman supported Gale saying the process of offloading such a high number of players may prove to be a tough task for United.
“They’re actually on a lot more money than what’s being reported,” Silkman said.
“Tony’s right, the biggest problem is the salaries that these players are on, forget about getting transfer fees for them there’s not that many clubs out there who will take on a player with a salary of £90,000 or £100,000 a week.
“Who is there? It’s only the top clubs so you do have a major problem. In the end what you end up doing is subsidising 30, 40 or 50 per cent of a players’ salary and let them go out on loan. To actually sell some of these players that are on fantastic money is almost an impossibility.”