Juan Mata's Old Trafford Arrival Will Propel Robin Van Persie to New Heights

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2014

Manchester United's Robin van Persie celebrates after scoring against Arsenal during their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Saturday Nov. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

The prayers of many a Manchester United fan will have felt answered with the announcement that Juan Mata had completed his move to Old Trafford, filling a substantial dearth in quality at the club.

With all the weapons at Mata's disposal, the individual prospects for the Spaniard are myriad, positioning him at the very core of a potential Red Devils revival.

However, the 25-year-old's move from Chelsea promises to benefit those in his vicinity as much as the playmaker himself, with Robin van Persie more primed than any other to use his new teammate as a springboard.

Injury has seen the Dutchman's 2013-14 campaign cruelly limited of late. Transfermarkt indicates that he's made just 11 Premier League appearances, but he's still managed to score seven goals in the process.

Jon Super/Associated Press

That being said, when fit again, the forward can look forward to benefiting from the presence of brand new toythis one focused on supplying a fresh source of ammunition to his squadmates.

In a way, Van Persie has everything that Mata had been lacking at Stamford Bridge for the past 18 months.

Not since Didier Drogba was the man occupying the front line ahead of him has the midfield maestro been able to put complete faith in a striking presence. Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o haven't offered the same security.

The 2011-12 term was Drogba's last season in England, scoring a total of 11 goals in his Premier League and Champions League campaignsfive of which were assisted by none other than United's diminutive Spaniard.

In comparison, the aforementioned trio of forwards currently plying their trade up front for the Blues haven't mustered the kind of quantity that makes a player of Mata's skill set trust in his instruments, never mind develop an intimate, destructive companionship with them.

WhoScored's Twitter account shows just how proficient Mata has been as a Chelsea puppeteer:

The fine work of Wayne Rooney this season may serve as something of a precursor as to what Mata can look forward to at Old Trafford.

It's unclear as to whether David Moyes plans on fielding his £37.1 million acquisition out wide or through a more central position, but it's in the latter that Rooney has been able to feed Van Persie a wealth of supply this term.

Alvaro Barrientos/Associated Press

By merely giving that option between midfield and attack, Mata liberates the 28-year-old even more to do as he pleases both on and off the ball.

A player of Rooney's calibre creates quite a unique domino of events in that Mata's presence allows Rooney to do more, which in turn promises to only benefit the forward-thinking RVP.

One might argue that this is the attribute Shinji Kagawa should have been impressing on the side for the last 18 months, but the enigmatic case of the Japanese midfielder seems to be hedging closer and closer to a case of "It wasn't meant to be."

Squawka recently analysed whether or not it's possible for Mata and Kagawa to play together:

The general view seems to be that United will field a 4-2-3-1 formation with Mata in the side, as has become so popular with Europe's elite in recent years.

However, Mata brings the possibility of mimicking Pep Guardiola's 4-1-4-1, although it's highly unlikely that the current standard of engine-room talent will be trusted with such a responsibility.

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

However, in time and with more transfers, one might find Rooney and Mata both lined up behind a free-roaming Van Persie, with the likes of Adnan Januzaj and another winger involved on top of that to create a truly fearsome creative quartet.

Wishful thinking for now, but Mata will at least be able to link up with a far more encouraging prospect on attack, which represents a throwback to what he'll remember as fonder days in West London.