Newcastle United Opinion: Signing Juan Mata would be a massive statement of intent from the Toon army
According to The Sun, Newcastle United have joined the race to sign out-of-contract Man United star Juan Mata on a free transfer in the summer, with reports claiming that Magpies manager Rafel Benitez is keen to reunite with his former Chelsea playmaker.
The Sun understands that Newcastle would need to fend off interest from Spanish giants Valencia and Barcelona if they are really serious about getting the 31-year-old on board ahead of the upcoming season.
However, Benitez faces a tough job in convincing the club hierarchy to alter their stance regarding signing players above the age of 26 and it has been reported that the Spaniard wants to bring about a change in the recruitment policy and wage structure at Tyneside. (h/t Sun)
Also, Mata earns around £140,000-a-week at Old Trafford and Newcastle would need to offer him terms somewhere close to that if they are going to have a chance of getting their hands on the coveted playmaker.
It is clear that Newcastle would need to move away from their stringent transfer policy and rigid wage structure to bring the 31-year-old to the club, although it remains to be seen whether Benitez manages to get his own way in this transfer battle.
The Spaniard is set to leave Old Trafford after five glorious years, having accumulated a staggering 45 goals and 37 assists in 218 appearances across all competitions for the Red Devils. The 2010 World Cup winner, who won the Champions League with Chelsea earlier in his career, played a key role in United’s triumphs in the FA Cup, EFL Cup and the Europa League.
To put things into perspective, Mata is amongst the household names in European football and he doesn’t need an introduction to any football fan across the globe. The Spaniard has plenty to offer at the highest level even at the age of 31 and few would dare to argue that he is still one of the most creative players around in the Premier League.
It is a no-brainer that Newcastle would do themselves a world of good if they manage to lure Mata to the club this summer, although he wasn’t at his best in the past campaign. He played only a bit-part role in United’s first-team this season but it would be a massive statement of intent from Newcastle if they move away from their rigid recruitment policy and go all out in their pursuit of Mata.
Benitez’s future at Tyneside is yet to be sorted out, but if the Spaniard remains in charge for the next season, there is an outside chance that he might manage to lure the hugely-influential playmaker to the club. Mata’s age and wage demands are likely to be the stumbling blocks but putting those factors aside, he could be a massive coup for the Magpies.
Newcastle have plenty of things to sort out in the summer before they go into the next season. A number of first-team players, including the likes of Ayoze Perez, Isaac Hayden,Joselu, Mo Diame and Jonjo Shelvey, have a big question mark over their futures.
They are reluctant to trigger the release clause in West Brom loanee Salomon Rondon’s contract, meaning that the Magpies would need to look for a new No.9 in the market.
They brought in Miguel Almiron for a club-record fee in January but the Paraguayan, though impressive at times, is yet to hit the ground running in the Premier League. He was supposed to shoulder the bulk of the responsibility in terms of creativity but the likes of Matt Ritchie and Rondon rose to the occasion to deliver the goods for the club this past season.
The acquisition of Mata could solve plenty of problems for Newcastle given that the Magpies need someone to provide that much needed creative spark by playing between the lines. Mata has got that elegance, flair, vision and movement to add a new dimension to the team’s attack and it is not difficult to see why the Toons would strike gold by recruiting him.
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Mata could go on to make a massive impact at Tyneside next season, and while Barcelona and Valencia look more likely to win the race for the 31-year-old, Newcastle should definitely give it a go and do their best to accommodate him in their plans. After all, bringing in a player of his calibre on a free transfer is a big bonus and an absolute steal any day.