A return to Valencia for Manchester United’s unwanted man Juan Mata in January would appear to be the correct course of action for all parties.
The move that took place eight months ago always appeared to be a panic buy from a floundering Manchester United, as David Moyes was struggling to win the fans over. Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho must still be chuckling to himself that he managed to collect more than £37million for a player he had deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.
Mata must be wondering quite how his Premier League career has nose-dived in the last 12 months, from Chelsea’s Player of the Year to a bit-part role in a United side that has since obtained a surfeit of attacking players and a dearth of defensive-minded stalwarts, following the summer departures of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra.
The recent arrivals of Angel Di Maria, Ander Herrera and Radamel Falcao have left Mata in the background at Old Trafford and he played no part in the edgy 2-1 victory against West Ham United on Saturday, a result that at least banished the memory of the 5-3 humbling at Leicester City a week earlier.
The move would also be welcomed by Valencia. They are currently the subject of a takeover by Singapore-based billionaire Peter Lim, who previously attempted to buy Liverpool.
Mata made more than 100 appearances for Valencia before joining Chelsea in 2011 for £23.5million, and he went on to score 18 goals in 82 Premier League appearances for the Blues.
However, it has all gone sour for Mata at United where Louis van Gaal has seemingly already decided to cash in on the 26-year-old in the next transfer window. Van Gaal has enough on his plate attempting to turn around Manchester United’s fortunes and steer them back into a top three position, so it will be interesting to see whether Mata remains a part of that plan.
Valencia have recently signed Alvaro Negredo, Rodrigo and Andre Gomes and appear to be ready to challenge the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of the La Liga table once again after spending several seasons in the doldrums. It could be time for Mata to end his spell in England and return to the Mestalla with this newly aligned squad, and attempt to rebuild his now teetering career.