There was a time when Juan Mata was a machine for Chelsea. His goal and assist contribution made him one of the very best players in the Premier League and an almost essential fantasy pick. Then he joined Manchester United…
I took at look at his stats and to be fair, he’s featured a little more than I thought but last season, his Premier League starts were in single figures. The season before that, he started less than twenty matches. I can tell you now that he won’t start ten Premier League games this season!
His early years at Old Trafford featured a few goals and a decent amount of assists but then he’s become more of a workmanlike deeper lying player than a creative number ten. He has popped up with a few moments of joy in Europe but whereas he got game time in the Europa League, he’ll get less in the Champions League.
He’s got ten goals in 41 outings for Spain, a notoriously difficult midfield to get into. That contribution is far more than many but you still don’t remember him dominating the international set-up in the same way that he excelled at Stamford Bridge. What I’m getting at is that whilst he’s portrayed as this nice guy who has contributed to society, which he genuinely seems to be/has, he still earns a whopping salary to now be a barely part-time footballer.
Mata could’ve spent the last couple of seasons at somewhere like Wolves, where he could’ve started north of thirty league matches a season and likely chipped in with plenty of goals and assists. However, when he looks back on the last few years, he’ll remember the training ground and being a spectator at Old Trafford!