Things might have gone very much quiet on the arrival front at Old Trafford after the signing of Juan Mata, but the exit door has been incredibly busy on transfer deadline day so far, with many youngsters been given the opportunity to gain crucial first team experience on loan at other clubs.
Wilfried Zaha has finally completed his loan move to Cardiff for the remainder of the season and one can only hope the youngster will grab his chance to prove his worth between now and May.
Away from the transfer deadline day shenanigans, ITK Twitter accounts and the dreaded “Sky Sport sources” line, for Manchester United and David Moyes there’s the small matter of a second Premier League game in four days to deal with.
Having finally got back to winning ways against Cardiff on Tuesday night, United travel to the Britannia, which, while it clearly isn’t the fortress the press have spent the last five years harping on about, remains a hotbed for dire football, generally windy and unpleasant days and, more importantly, some of the worst fans the Premier League has ever seen.
Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola might have just given United fans a reason to remain glued to TV screens and radios tomorrow, after admitting that Toni Kroos could leave the Allianz Arena before tomorrow’s transfer deadline.
The Bayern Munich midfielder has been on David Moyes’ radar for quite some time, after the European champions’ Chief Executive, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, admitted that the club was struggling to come to an agreement with the midfielder over a new contract.
Phil Jones has claimed that Juan Mata’s arrival has had a positive impact on the Manchester United players, lifting the dressing room morale and delivering a much-needed psychological boost to a team that had endured a catastrophic season up until last week, when the Spaniard was signed.
Mata’s debut against Cardiff on Tuesday coincided with United getting back to winning ways in the Premier League and Jones described the Spaniard’s signing as the sort of exciting news capable of lifting the players’ morale and delivering fresh impetus for the remainder of the season.
1) The (not yet) Special Juan
From the moment he signed, last night was always going to be about a man and one man only: Juan Mata.
The atmosphere as he entered the pitch was one of febrile anticipation, one we hadn’t witnessed at Old Trafford since Robin Van Persie made his debut in a red shirt last season and while the expectations were only partly met, Mata’s first game for United was a largely positive one.
David Moyes has insisted that Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie are the men that will lift Manchester United out of the doldrums and the doom and gloom that has crippled the champions this season.
Mata, a £37.1m signing from Chelsea, made his long-awaited debut against Cardiff last night, while United also welcomed back Robin Van Persie after a 11-game spell on the sidelines, with Wayne Rooney also returning to the first team fold after overcoming the groin injury that had forced him to miss the last three weeks.
By the time Juan Mata fully settles into this United side, orchestrating the play and dictating passes mere mortals can’t see, we will, hopefully, all look back to tonight and break a polite, almost embarrassed smile, at how low-key the Spaniard’s debut in a Manchester United shirt was.
That is not to say that United’s record signing disappointed in his first outing for his new club, but to classify tonight as a “dream debut” would be to get carried away too soon and too quickly.
When a player joins a new football club, the words that’s mentioned more often is “opportunity”.
Everything, from the new manager, to new team-mates to a new environment and fans is portrayed to offer the new arrival with a wonderful chance to revitalise his career, prove his former manager wrong, develop into a world class player or a bit of both, depending who the footballer in question might be.