Although Barcelona always seem amazingly deep at every position on the pitch (unless they have to replace that one guy named “Messi), there are always a few transfer rumors about which big name player might be joining the Catalan giants and they continue to be one of the top four teams in the entire world every season. This summer, the rumors seemed to be more about who would be leaving instead of who would be coming, especially since the Neymar transfer was wrapped up fairly early in the year. However, as a certain Spanish international continues to be left off of the starting line-up over in London, the rumors are now swirling that Juan Mata might join up with the La Liga Champions…intrigue!
“But, why? They already have Fabregas on the books and Mata would probably want to play a little more advanced than the Barcelona system would allow.” Wow, how intelligent you sound…but, Mata actually makes sense for Barcelona. Where Fabregas likes to be more of an attacking presence and the type of player that will, one day, probably shift farther back as he throws Xavi a retirement party, Mata can become the Andres Iniesta type player for all the other areas of the pitch that Iniesta will not frequent. Although Iniesta continues to be one of the world’s most underrated performers, his proficiency with Barcelona is to stay close to the left wing and only occasionally try to create something from his passing or individual brilliance.
Mata can be as strong a cog as Iniesta and he has the potential to be more. Mata will float wherever the play is needed, a key item in the Barcelona plan. It has always amazed me how Xavi, Messi, Dani Alves, and even Pique seem to float around the pitch to wherever the passing is occuring, but Iniesta still seems glued to his side of the field. For one of the greatest players of the past decade, it seems a bit odd. Mata will mix in perfectly with the shifting nature of the Catalans and he would also provide another option for the right side of the field. Where the top-tier Barcelona talent typically prefers the ball on their right foot, only Messi is seen as a player that would want a shot to fall to his left. Mata would provide another option to have bring attacks in from the wing and finish with his left foot. I do have slight concerns about having someone get between the almost constant Alves/Messi connection, but Mata would ease those nerves within his first match.
The longer the small Spaniard sits on the Chelsea bench and the longer Jose Mourinho makes it seem like he has a problem with Mata, the more rumors like this will gain steam. The more Bayern Munich continues to march on in the Champions League leaving Barcelona looking to strengthen their squad as much as possible to avoid another harsh defeat to the Germans, this rumor will continue to gain traction. The more I think about how Mata could truly become a more complete version of Iniesta with Barcelona, the more I genuinely hope that this rumor turns to fact. If Juan Mata is unsettled in January (barring a large amount of cash buying up a central defender), then Barcelona would be fools to not bring another Spanish international into the fold. Heck, I hear Casillas might be available too…