Video evidence: Juan Mata (Liverpool) – Rafa targets another Spaniard

Money may be tight, the co-chairman are still bickering and the promised third party investment has not materialised, nevertheless the Sun could not resist in linking Liverpool to Juan Mata, Valencia’s 21-year-old left sided midfielder.

Mata began his career at Real Oviedo and after some impressive displays in the youth team Real Madrid snapped him up. At Madrid he went onto play for the club’s B team, Castilla, in the Segunda Division. In his one solitary season at Castilla he scored 10 goals in 39 appearances, making him the team’s second highest goal scorer.

Expecting a contract that reflected his good form, he was insulted by the offer the club made him and engineered a situation where Madrid had no choice but to sell him to Los Che.

Due to an injury to Vicente, he was thrust straight into the starting XI and made an immediate impact at his new club. He played a prominent part in Valencia’s Spanish Cup triumph.

The left footed midfielder loves to drift into the centre of midfield from he can attack the opposition head on or look for a killer through ball for his strikers to latch onto. He is quick and always looks to make himself available to pick up a pass. In addition, he is an excellent finisher and has bagged 23 goals in 68 games for Valencia. His reading of the game is also very good and he seems to pick the right option be it whether to pass or shoot.

As with many young footballers he has yet to fill out and is lacking in strength, which can see him outmuscled by bigger defenders. This will be problematic in the Premier League, but as he gets older he should get stronger. His heading is also poor.

With Valencia seeking to keep David Villa unless a ludicrous offer is tabled, it is likely that Meta may be prised away from the Mestalla for the right price. The club need to reduce their debt and without the bonus of Champions League money they need to generate some incoming cash. A price tag of €15 million will be what Valencia are looking for, so to buy him Benitez will have to sell first. If Rafa doesn’t splash the cash Mata will almost inevitably move to a bigger club in the summer.

Video evidence of Juan Mata in action can be seen here.