Barcelona Transfer News: Lionel Messi approves the signing of Premier League star
What's the story?
In case you didn't know...
Barcelona's superb season hid some major snags towards the business-end of the campaign, with the Blaugrana being eliminated from the Champions League semi-finals by a spirited Liverpool side. After steamrolling the English side 3-0 at home, Barcelona self-destructed to lose 4-0 at Anfield as manager Ernesto Valverde could not hold on to a three-goal lead again just like against AS Roma last season. Despite winning La Liga title with four games to spare and looking on course for a domestic double (Barcelona have already qualified for the Copa del Rey final where they will face Valencia), there is immense pressure on Valverde to strengthen his side for next season and bring Champions League glory back to the Camp Nou.
The heart of the matter
Mata began his career with Real Madrid before establishing himself as a world-class playmaker at Valencia, Chelsea and Manchester United, with a penchant for scoring crucial goals. He is expected to provide some crucial creativity in the Barcelona midfield, something that has been lacking this season with Ousmane Dembele being injured for large stretches of the campaign and Philippe Coutinho being out of form. Messi had to bear much of the creative as well as the goalscoring burden for his team, being the top assist provider as well as the top goalscorer for Barcelona, with 16 assists and 48 goals this campaign across all competitions. Valverde will be keen to reduce the creative responsibilities imposed on his star man next season.
Mata would bring a wealth of experience as well, having been part of Chelsea's 2011-12 Champions League winning team as well as being a member of the all-conquering Spanish national team which won the 2012 Euro as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup. And Messi, who is considered a prime influencer in the Blaugrana's transfer decisions, has given his thumbs up to bring in the Spanish playmaker to the Camp Nou. In 16 appearances this season for Manchester United in the Premier League, Mata has scored three goals and provided two assists.
It remains to be seen if Barcelona manage to sign Mata in the upcoming summer transfer window.