As speculation continues to intensify that Mauricio Pochettino will shortly be appointed Manchester United’s next manager, it’s natural to wonder what changes he might make at Old Trafford.
His success with Tottenham Hotspur was founded on a hardworking, intense-pressing brand of football that used a high defensive line to compress the available space.
While it would be wrong to assume United’s current squad can’t do that, it’s certainly not something which they have been accustomed to doing in recent times.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will auto-play soon8Cancel
And this theoretical change in their tactics would likely leave some of the playing staff at United surplus to Pochettino’s intense requirements.
If the Argentine does push the players who don’t fit his style towards the exit door, are there any which would be of interest to Chelsea?
Would the Spaniard be interested in returning to his former club? As he enters the twilight of his career, it’s natural to assume he doesn’t have the legs to be a key player for Pochettino.
The 32-year old has pressed less often this season (per FBRef) than any midfielder did when Spurs were at their ferocious best under their previous manager.
And Chelsea could perhaps do with a creative veteran for late on in games if things are not going their way. While the Blues have a fabulously talented young squad, their top assist provider in the league last season was Willian, and Pedro was their second-highest scorer the season before.
Both players have since moved on, so Frank Lampard’s squad would appear to have a vacancy for a wily veteran who can contribute despite not starting every single week.
Mata, twice the Blues’ Player of the Year during his previous spell at Stamford Bridge, the man could be just the guy they need.