There has been a lot of speculation lately that Juan Mata of Valencia is on his way to the Emirates. The fee being reported is anywhere between £13 million and £17.5 million, though The Mirror in particular is reporting a £15 million fee.
Although the president of Valencia, Manuel Llorente, said there have been no bids for Mata as of July 25 (and nothing has been publicly said on the matter since then), it still gives Arsenal fans something to think about. Mata is a world-class player and someone who would really add something to the Arsenal lineup.
I really do hope a deal for him materialises, because I've been following Mata closely over the past few years. He would boost the Arsenal team immensely. Let's pray the media is actually right for a change.
This slideshow gives five reasons why Mata would be a perfect signing for the Gunners.
Mata is an incredibly versatile player and usually is played on the left wing, but most matches you won't see him stick to that position. He loves to roam around the pitch, picking passes at will, and he has the ability to change a match in a split second.
His versatility is something Arsenal need due to their incredible proneness to injuries. He could easily fill in on either wing or in the attacking midfield role. If really needed, he could probably do a decent job as the lone striker.
I know it's tougher in the Premiership than La Liga. But still only missing seven games out of what?—108—that's pretty impressive. It's something Arsenal need, as they have many players who only play around half a season, and most the time those players are top quality, such as Robin van Persie.
Therefore, Mata would add depth to the attacking front.
By missing very few games, it's a lot harder for him to lose form because he is consistently playing and playing well.
There is only three players in La Liga who have more assists that Mata over the past three seasons: Xavi, Lionel Messi and Dani Alves.
This proves he has an incredible eye for a pass. His crossing ability is outstanding—almost every cross he delivers reaches a teammate, resulting in a lot of goals.
Last season, Arsenal lacked creativity when Cesc Fabregas was injured. Mata could provide it.
Although we already have one of the best set-piece takers in the world in Robin van Persie, I can only remember one goal direct from a free kick (correct me if I'm wrong) last season. That came at Birmingham via a deflection.
And when van Persie is injured, I've seen all sorts of players taking the free kicks: Andrei Arshavin, Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri. None can produce what van Persie does—Mata can.
He is also very good with corners and penalties, so we would have a good backup set-piece taker.
Apparently, Mata has a release clause in his contract of £20 million, according to The Guardian. Although this seems a lot of money, in today's transfer market it's a bargain.
And with Arsene Wenger being Wenger, this is pretty much the tip of his price range. He should really go all out for Mata. The ability Mata possesses easily matches that of any of Arsenal's current wingers. He is a collectively brilliant all-round player.
Although Llorente has said that he will not sell, manager Unai Emery had a different stance:
“Right now I can’t imagine it but it can’t be ruled out. From what we have spoken about internally and what we spoken about with the footballer, the idea is that he continues [with us], but it could be that, in a given moment, economic and sporting situations for the player mean that he may leave.
“As things stand today, the idea is that he stays."
Hopefully Wenger will bid for him, because Mata would really show that Arsenal are still, and always will be, a world-class team.