Juan Mata Aaron Ramsey Manchester United Tactical Analysis Analysis

Juan Mata For Aaron Ramsey?

Manchester United and Arsenal are no strangers to conducting business together, particularly with swap deals. Their historic rivalry aside, each club has not hesitated in allowing top-quality players to depart for the other.

We’ve famously seen Robin van Persie jump ship to join the Red Devils in pursuit of silverware. Most recently, we saw the strange swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexis Sanchez, a move that has proven to be far less successful so far.

Recent reports claim that a deal between United and Arsenal exchanging Juan Mata‘s services for Ramsey’s could be a possibility. The Red Devils have previously been linked with the Welshman, and with negotiations over a contract extension supposedly breaking down, Ramsey is expected to no longer be an Arsenal player by the summer.

Should United pursue such a deal? Let’s take a look:

Juan Mata Player Profile

Juan Mata Aaron Ramsey Manchester United Tactical Analysis Analysis

Since arriving in January 2014, Juan Mata has proven to be a useful player for all managers he has played under at United.

His ability to play both on either wing and through the middle has seen increased his chances of making it into the United starting XI. He provides creativity, maturity, and intelligence to compliment his more direct and pacey team-mates on the opposite flank.

This season, Jose Mourinho has utilised the Spaniard both in the centre of midfield and out wide. He showcased his abilities from set pieces during United’s comeback over Newcastle and has helped create chances for his team-mates through his 81% passing accuracy.

Aaron Ramsey Player Profile

Juan Mata Aaron Ramsey Manchester United Tactical Analysis Analysis

Aaron Ramsey arrived at the Emirates in summer 2008 from his hometown club Cardiff City as a baby-faced teenager. Since then, he’s established himself as a regular starter under both Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery.

Ramsey’s success in London peaked during the 2013/14 season. That year, Ramsey managed a whopping 10 goals and seven assists from midfield.

The 27-year-old has an uncanny ability to bring an additional goal-scoring threat from deep in midfield. Ramsey’s freedom has been hindered, however, with the implementation of a three-at-the-back system. Here, his partnership with Granit Xhaka means he has greater defensive responsibilities.

Despite this, like Mata, Ramsey has managed a goal already this season. In addition, he’s also managed three assists, two more than the Spaniard.


Juan Mata Aaron Ramsey Manchester United Tactical Analysis Analysis
Comparison grid courtesy of WhoScored.com

Granted, both Mata and Ramsey are two different styles of players with different roles in their respective sides. However, there are certainly aspects of their game that warrant comparison.

Ramsey’s eye for goal is evident in his stats from last season. The Welshman managed eight goals and seven assists, while Mata only managed three goals and five assists in more appearances than Rambo.

In terms of contributions from passes, however, it’s all Mata. The Spaniard managed an 86.7% pass success rate, while Ramsey managed 84.9%.

However, Ramsey again trumps Mata in terms of his prowess in front of goal. This may be partly due to Mata playing in a much more conservative system under Mourinho last season.

Although, Ramsey was playing in a deeper role than Mata, so I guess they’re even in that regard. Nevertheless, he averaged 2.3 shots per game, while Mata tallied only 1.0. 


Upon comparing both players’ statistics from last season, it’s clear to see that both players’ strengths differ and combat the other’s.

Mata is a much more composed player, offering more in terms of passing and creativity, while Ramsey brings more of a physical presence and an eye for goal.

Personally, I think United would come out the better of the two clubs if the deal happens. They are in dire need of a technically-adept player with a goal-scoring threat from the middle of the park. However, I’m not fully convinced that Arsenal are truly in need of a player of Mata’s ilk.

Mata’s departure could also mean that players such as Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Jesse Lingard will be exposed to more game time with the right-wing void needing to be filled.

This would certainly be more beneficial to United in their bid to build up their more youthful talent.

It would be a shame to see the loveable Spaniard go. But with Ramsey also being three years younger, it might be the more sensible option in the long term.