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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Manchester United: Cabaye or Mata - who would you prefer?


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Manchester United boss David Moyes is a whopping 14 points off Premier League leaders Arsenal but the former Everton chief refuses to rule the champions out of the title race. Either Moyes is extremely optimistic or he's coming down with some degenerative eye disorder and can't see what's in front of him.

The Red Devils have no chance of winning the league. They also have a fight on their hands to even qualify for the Champions League with their current squad. Sunday's defeat by Chelsea was not unexpected, but it was their seventh of the campaign. Had they had Rooney and RVP fit and firing on all cylinders it could have been a different story, but the truth of the matter is that without their two top men United look distinctively average.

United quite clearly have to bring in some new blood within the next 10 days to keep any hopes of remaining in the Champions League next season alive. 

Mata left in the coldThis morning it appears that David Moyes in interested in bringing a quality midfielder to the Theatre of Dreams with Chelsea's Juan Mata and Newcastle United's Frenchman Yohan Cabaye both linked with a move to United. Both Mata and Cabaye boast Premier League experience and would boost their midfield, but if you could only sign one who would it be?

Juan Mata has fallen out of favour at Chelsea since the arrival of Jose Mourinho. Mata was the fans' favourite at Stamford Bridge and it was easy to see why. He could score goals, create goals and get the fans up off their seats. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough for Mourinho who wanted more effort defensively from the Spaniard. Reports this morning are talking of a bid in the region of £30-£37 million. 

Mata is a proper number 10, but then so is Rooney and Kagawa. Would Mata be happy to play out on the wide or does the manager envisage a change of system in the middle of the park? Would the arrival of Mata also open the door and ease relations for Rooney to join Chelsea? Most people believe Rooney will be off in the summer, but do you really want him playing at Chelsea?

CabayeThen you have Yohan Cabaye who has been a shining light for Newcastle since his arrival in 2011. Comfortable with both feet, dangerous at dead balls and with an eye for goal, Cabaye is an excellent player. Premier League leaders Arsenal were linked with him in the summer but failed to get the job done. 

The Frenchman makes the game look easy, collecting the ball, looking up and picking out his man. His movement is second to none and, despite not being a hardman, controls the middle of the park. Cabaye is strong defensively and creative offensively. A plus side to Cabaye is that he is not cup-tied when it comes to the Champions League.

Newcastle fans would be up in arms at such a move. I remember the day striker Andy Cole sensationally joined Manchester United almost two decades ago. That move shook the Premier League to its core as nobody saw it coming. Cabaye's exit would not be such a huge shock as he has been linked with "bigger" clubs for the past year, but it would be a huge blow for their European hopes.

However, the money raised in from Cabaye would allow Alan Pardew to buy a new striker and I'm sure with his French links he would be able to find a gem or two.

One thing is for sure, Manchester United cannot afford to wait until the summer to spend their money. If they found it hard to attract players last summer when they were champions and playing in the Champions League, imagine how hard it will be if they finishing outside the top four. 

So, if you were in David Moyes's shoes, who would you splash your cash on?

Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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