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What Does The Resurgence Of £26m Mkhitaryan Means To This Attacking Midfielder?

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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho

Image result for mkhitaryan and mata

Upon his heralded arrival at the Theatre of Dreams from the Signal Iduna Park during the summer transfer window, Armenian international midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, wasn’t able to impress from the get go nor hit the ground running immediately. Until of recent.

An injury, lack of form and a slow adaptation process saw him initially struggle for first-team football under Mourinho, which led to him making just 1 Premier League start until December.

But since returning to the Portuguese’s EPL starting lineup against Everton, the 27-year-old has produced the exact type of displays that was long expected of him upon making an arrival, and he has undoubtedly held down a starting berth for himself on the back of his new-found form.

Against Tottenham, his goal turned out to be the crucial winner, and though he was stretchered off after going down under a heavy challenge from Danny Rose, that he is rest assured of returning to the starting XI upon regaining full fitness goes a long way in establishing his sudden importance to the Manchester United squad.

But where does this leave Juan Mata? The Spain international had remained a vital component of Mourinho’s setup despite the uncertainty that surrounded his future at the beginning of the season.

However, since Henrikh’s reintroduction to the lineup, the 28-year-old Mata has dropped down the pecking order, just at a time he seems to be beginning to stake a claim on a starting berth.

While he has only completed 90 minutes just on one occasion – in the 4 – 1 thrashing of Fenerbahce in October, that he has started 9 Premier League games thus far means he had done enough to convince Jose Mourinho of being a worthy inclusion in the starting lineup.

Image result for mkhitaryan and mata

But Mkhitaryan’s form is set to hamper all that. And Mata’s regular first-team football is now under huge threat. Again!!! The Armenian has been slotted to the right-wing, and has completely felt at home in the position.

Juan Mata has been shuffled between the right and centre attacking midfield positions, but given the slightly-better quality and finishing Mkhitaryan offers on the right and final third, Mata definitely now has to play 2nd fiddle.

In the role behind the striker, Mourinho seems to have finally agreed it’s best suited for Paul Pogba. There has been a conundrum as to where the 23-year-old would perfectly fit into since his return to the fold as the world’s most expensive player, and having failed to impress in deep midfield, further up the pitch looks just perfect for him.

Rooney, and not Mata immediately comes next in line as first choice sub for the position. He no doubt remains a fine player, but he lacks the finishing abilities and mobility Mkhitaryan provides, and the resurgence of the former Dortmund star could spell his own end.

At the moment, Mata should come into contention for a starting role against West Brom, prior to Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s proposed return to action on boxing day against Sunderland, but no matter how much he impresses in those 2 or 3 games, it just might not be enough to earn him a return to the starting lineup on a permanent and regular basis.

Once again, Mata’s future at the Theater of Dreams is beginning to look bleak, but it’s not because of Jose Mourinho this time around. With Henrikh Mkhitaryan being a better player and proving to be so, there isn’t just a regular place for Mata in the first team any longer.

His end at the club has always been forthcoming afterall, and it just doesn’t look he would be able to win the battle this time around. Or would he?