According to the Daily Telegraph's Mark Ogden, Juan Mata's move from Chelsea to Manchester United is nearly complete. I'm not dismissing the fact that Mata is a fantastic player, but I think Manchester United's immediate need is for need a more combative type—an all-rounder in the middle of park.
United have let Anderson go, Michael Carrick is injured and Phil Jones is a jack of all trades, master of none.
Yohan Cabaye of Newcastle is the player United should be going all out for. They already have Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa to take on No. 10 duties. What they need is a midfielder who can create, but also one who can commit to challenges and stem the tide of attacks.
Cabaye can do the old-fashioned, roll-up-your-sleeves work for United much better than Mata can. Mata is a creative talent United should go after in the summer perhaps, but he's not the solution to their problems right now. That man is Cabaye.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had doubts about Mata from the start. The reason he doesn't want him is because he doesn't feel Mata works hard enough—it's as simple as that. He's looking for a player who gets back to defend and is very quick at making the transition from 18-yard box to 18-yard box.
That's why Chelsea re-signed Nemanja Matic. He gives Mourinho that kind of work rate and discipline. Matic is not as refined or technically gifted as Mata, but he works harder. That's the foundation of what Mourinho's teams are always about. It's been that way since his early days at Porto.
Cabaye can deliver that for United. If I was in charge, I'd make a bid around the £20-25 million mark and get the deal done as quickly as possible. Having Cabaye alongside Michael Carrick would give United the graft they need to start moving forward again.
The other problem with signing Mata is what it means for United's two other No. 10s. Rooney could well be shifted out wide, while Kagawa probably won't get a look-in.
Kicking Racism off Twitter
Those who follow me on Twitter will be only too aware of the issues I've faced with racial abuse and threats recently. Watch this B/R Google+ to hear what I have to say on the issue.
You can download the Kick It Out app here.