Juan Mata and Daley Blind are reportedly on borrowed time at Manchester United, but the stats suggest Jose Mourinho might want to carefully consider what the pair could offer him.
Mourinho is busy reshaping his squad for the coming season, with arrivals so far dominating his agenda. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly have already arrived and Paul Pogba is being chased hard by the new United boss.
But the spotlight is also beginning to shine on Mourinho’s plans for culling his bloated ranks. The former Chelsea manager likes to work with a compact squad and reports have suggested the Portuguese coach is looking to trim his squad to 24 first-team players.
It was reported on Wednesday that the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marcos Rojo and Adnan Januzaj could all be told to find new clubs, and few would really miss that trio given their contribution – or lack of – last season.
But the cases of Daley Blind and Juan Mata are different, according to Oulala.
Blind played last season as one of Louis van Gaal’s first-choice centre-backs and formed an effective partnership with Chris Smalling. The versatile Dutchman, though, is reportedly not seen as a top-class central defender, owing to his lack of pace and physical presence.
Mata enjoyed a productive season as a playmaker, having been employed across the line of three behind the central striker. The Spaniard is understood to be a popular figure in the United dressing room – and it is not only for the reason that Mourinho should make sure he is absolutely certain about selling Mata again.
The duo topped the charts for successful passes at the club with Blind completing 1,665 successful passes and Mata registering 1,580.
Mata also led the pass completion stats alongside Morgan Schneiderlin, both completing 89 per cent of passes.
Another area that Mata excelled at Manchester United was creatively. The 28-year-old created 53 chances in 38 appearances, 11 more than any of his teammates. The five assists that Mata provided was second best to only Wayne Rooney (6).
Away from passing, Daley Blind also recorded some excellent defensive stats, racking up the most blocks (20) at the club in the Premier League and the second most successful tackles (67).
While it’s understandable that Mourinho wants to make space for new recruits in his Manchester United squad, our stats clearly show that two of the players he is looking to oust are the last players he should be selling.
History shows that Mourinho doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to getting rid of players he doesn’t deem good enough, just look at Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.
With thanks to Oulala.