In recent years Man United fans have been crying out for a player who can assist strikers and sit in between the midfield and defence, known nowadays as the number 10. Juan Mata, a then record signing seemed to have solved that problem and made many United fans as happy as Larry. However he has not had the impact he had at Chelsea. Many people put this down to the changes going on at United, and said this is the reason things haven’t gone to plan for Mata. However Mata has not been the first player brought in to solve this problem. Shinji Kagawa arrived at United in 2012 from Borussia Dormund. Kagawa failed to impress and has now been sent back to Borussia Dormund where he has done so well.
So why is it that these proven “number 10’s” cant seem to cut it in the United squad. My reason is one that many may not believe in. This being Wayne Rooney. I know Rooney is believed to be one of the best English players to have ever lived but I believe that the role he plays at United has an effect on Mata and Kagawa. Unlike Van Persie Rooney is not happy staying forward and waiting for the ball to come to him, Rooney likes to come deep and get the ball. With this said players like Mata and Kagawa are played in unfamiliar positions.
United Fans are shouting from the rooftops for players like Mata, but with him playing on the wing United fans are left disappointed and wondering why he’s underperforming. So is the favouritism of Rooney playing in this position worthwhile? Well Rooney has an impressive record of 275 goals and 138 assists. However In the 2012/13 season, Mata’s scored 19 goals and 35 assists in all competitions, 17 of them coming from the premiership.
With the addition of Falcao, Rooney is more than likely going to drop deeper, meaning Mata will either spend much of his time on the bench or be played out of position. I can’t see Rooney being dropped for the likes of Mata and Kagawa had no chance of being preferred over Rooney. When playing in his favoured position Mata has excelled at United and I believe Rooney and Mata can fit in a United team but with the addition of another striker I believe Mata may struggle with Rooney dropping deeper taking Mata’s position.