Juan Mata exudes class, intelligence and panache - and not just with a ball at his feet. When the Spaniard travelled to the Aon Training Complex on 25 January 2014 to complete his transfer from Chelsea, he arrived by helicopter - a Hollywood-style entrance befitting a player on whom Manchester United spent a club-record fee of £37.1million.
Mata is an influential performer in any of the three main attacking positions across the pitch behind the lead striker – on either flank or in the no.10 role. A world-class creator and consistent goal-getter, he netted 12 times in all competitions in his debut season with Chelsea in 2011/12, before scoring 11 in the league alone in the following campaign.
However, Mata's game is about more than just attacking from deep to score goals. The Spain international has a sweet left foot, wonderful poise and balance, possesses great vision for a killer pass or wicked cross and is a danger from set-pieces anywhere on the pitch. His creativity sets him apart; only two players in Premier League history boast superior minutes-per-assist ratios, and since Mata arrived in England only Wayne Rooney and David Silva have set up more goals.