Newcastle United could move in for the Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata in a bid to strengthen their squad in the ongoing transfer window.
According to the Sun, Newcastle United boss, Rafa Benitez, is eyeing a reunion with Red Devils star Juan Mata, who he worked alongside at Chelsea, but would require the club’s chiefs to be flexible in their policy to sign players over 30 years of age.
Mata is out of contract and is expected to become a free agent when his contract runs out towards the end of June.
The Spaniard has garnered interest from other clubs across Europe, with the likes of Barcelona and his former club Valencia interested.
Juan Mata under Rafa Benitez: A good creative spark
Mata is a versatile player whose strongest position is as an attacking midfielder, but he has often shifted to a wider role in his spell at Manchester United.
The Spaniard has lost his pace, but his key passes in the final third remain vital. Mata, who has seen his playing time cut short in the last few seasons, has 6 goals and 2 assists in 31 appearances across all competitions for the Red Devils this season.
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez generally plays a pragmatic style of football and deploys a 5-4-1 formation which tends to become a 3-4-3 depending on the opposition. The Magpies have often played a direct style, with someone like Salomon Rondon holding up the ball for the likes of Ayoze Perez and Miguel Almiron to come into the game.
Another approach that has worked well is where the long diagonal is played to Matt Ritchie on the wings. Ritchie then links up with Miguel Almiron on the left and both combine to play the ball into the half spaces to create a crossing opportunity for the attackers inside the box.
Seeing the tactics deployed at St. James Park, Mata could be a good addition to the Newcastle squad. The Spaniard can whip accurate crosses into the box, and seeing his prowess with through balls in spaces which can create an opportunity for a cross into the box, his hold up play, and passing prowess, his addition would add a lot more creativity to the Newcastle attack.
Mata’s threat from a set-piece situation also remains unparalleled, be it a direct shot at goal or a cross whipped into the box.
Bringing the experience of the Spaniard to St. James Park on a free transfer would be beneficial both economically and in terms of squad depth. Benitez and Mata have worked together before, so the manager knows how to bring the best out of the player.
Stat Courtesy: Whoscored, Transfermarkt