Saturday, January 25, 2014


No, I've been lax in updating this blog not because of the bad run United have had. I will always be a proud MU fan, no matter how they are doing. As usual, that lethal combination of workload, travel and (yes, I admit it) laziness caused the lapse.

What made me write this entry was the announcement of the agreement between MU and Chelsea regarding the transfer of Juan Mata. Pending the agreement of personal terms and the results of a medical, the Spaniard is set to become a Red Devil soon.

Lots has been said about Mata's transfers. Most have hailed it as welcome news, but there have also been detractors. Not surprisingly, rival EPL bosses have voiced their opinions. People like Wenger and Pellegrini. Surprisingly, one detractor is former United stalwart Gary Neville.

I am one who is elated at the news and believe Mata will justify the record amount the club will soon be laying out for him (reports say this is anything between 37 million to 40 million pounds). But let's start with the complaints from rival managers.

Wenger's, and perhaps Pellegrini's, complaint that there are elements of unfairness in the transfer. This evolves around the fact that United and Chelsea have already completed their league games against each other. In transferring Mata to United, Mourinho is banking on the probability that the talented Spaniard can lift the Devils and make it more difficult for teams like Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs and Everton, who are all above MU. This gives Chelsea a better chance at lifting the trophy.

Whether this is Mourinho's plan or whether the Portuguese manager simply decided to let Mata go because the player really wanted to join MU is beside the point. Wenger is right. There is the possibility that this sort of thing can be a little unfair, whether or not it is done intentionally. But let's face it: Wenger would do the same thing if he thought it would be an advantage.

As for Neville, well, I just think he has it all wrong. Mata is a quality player. I have always said Sir Alex should have brought him to United. Neville's doubts about where Mata will fit in are unfounded. He is the sort of quality player who would be able to fit in anywhere, whether it's on the wings, playing in the hole just behind a lone striker or calling the shots in the middle of the park.

Many a player has been taken out of his comfort zone, put in a spot and excelled. Take Thierry Henry for example. He was a winger until Wenger decided to play him up front. And what a striker he turned out to be!

Locally, we had Zainal Abidin Hassan. He was a defender before being made a striker, and he turned out to be Malaysia's best in his time. OK, so you can't really compare Zainal and Henry, but you get my drift.

So Mata, even if Moyes decides to make him the playmaker in the team, will serve MU well. And, his transfer will serve to boost morale.

I'm looking forward to having the talented Spaniard in the team. After all, how can anyone deny his ability when he's been voted best player in a star-studded team like Chelsea for the last two years.