We all knew it was coming. We let it happen anyways, and here we are.
It only took one competitive game for Jose Mourinho to publicly shame Juan Mata, and now all appears lost for the Spaniard under his old nemesis yet again.
We all knew it was coming, but did we know it would be this soon?
Mata took the Premier League by storm in 2011, scoring 17 goals and assisting 30 more in two years of top flight play at Chelsea. Then, along comes Mourinho, and Mata is immediately deemed surplus to requirements. In a long, drawn out euthanasia, Mourinho finally put Mata to the sword for good at the Bridge, shipping him off to Old Trafford in the winter of 2014.
Last season, Mata seemed at times the only truly creative force on an otherwise uninspiring Red Devils squad. While Louis Van Gaal‘s “boring, boring Man United” somewhat stifled his production, Mata still led Manchester United with seven assists in Premier League play – 11 overall (second to Anthony Martial‘s 14) – proving he still has plenty to give this squad.
But not according to Jose Mourinho.
In Sunday’s Community Shield, the symbolic yet otherwise meaningless opening to the Premier League season, Mourinho embarrassed his creative playmaker by subbing him on just past the hour mark with the game tied at 1-1, and then yanking him in the final minutes. Mourinho, with a wry smile on his face, said he subbed Mata back off because “I needed to take off the smallest player because we were expecting a lot of long balls.” Not a soul is buying that one, Jose.
It had the desired effect. Mata lashed out at Mourinho briefly after being taken off, and the message is clear. Mata is no longer wanted at Old Trafford. Yet again, Jose Mourinho has driven him out of town. With the transfer window closing in just a few weeks, Mourinho needed to put him on the market soon, and he did just that.
So, down on his luck, Juan Mata has no choice but to pack up and find a new home, and most of the rooms are booked. Could Liverpool be interested? It might be a little late to conjur up those funds, and Coutinho is already the incumbent at Anfield. Manchester City is bursting at the seams with playmakers. Arsenal has Alexis Sanchez, and the Gunners have already stated they don’t wish to spend big on one player.
This might mean he will have to look outside England. It will be sad if Jose Mourinho drives Juan Mata out of the Premier League. It’s entirely within his right as manager, but also a shame to lose such a smart and constructive player, let alone his all-around positive personality.
We all saw it coming, but