By Craig Scott

12th Aug, 2022 | 12:10pm

Victor Orta knows Juan Mata well as Phil Hay drops Leeds United transfer update amid speculation

Victor Orta knows Juan Mata well but signing the former Manchester United attacker would be a waste of resources at Leeds United, according to The Athletic journalist Phil Hay.

Mata, 34, has been linked with Leeds this summer after he was released by Man United at the end of last season when his Old Trafford contract expired.

Marca reported on 13 July that Leeds made an offer for the Spanish attacker with director of football Orta in discussions with his father.

Although Hay has ruled out a move for Mata, he does admit that there is some substance to the speculation due to the fact that Orta does have some kind of personal relationship with the 41-times Spain international.

Speaking on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show podcast (12 August, 8m15s), Hay said: “Orta knows Mata and knows Mata’s family well.

“I think I’ve probably said this before that in a lot of instances – and bear in mind Leeds do scout a huge number of players and do a lot when it comes to recruitment work and they spread themselves across a large number of names – it could be said that there is something to it in the sense that Leeds might have had conversations with clubs or representatives about the situation.

“But there’s always a huge difference between players they’re looking at speculatively and players they actually intend to bid for.”

Hay added: “It would be an odd use of resources [signing Mata] if Mateusz Klich is going to stay in this window.

“Leeds have covered the most distance of any club over the weekend, the pressing and the number of individual pressures they applied was very high.

“That’s the style they’re going to play under Marsch and it’s going to need a lot of legs, a lot of running and without being unfair to Mata and saying he can’t do that, even as a basic discussion about numbers, do they need somebody like him in the squad given how many midfielders they now have? Does he fit?

“Does it make sense to allocate resources to what would be a fairly chunky wage coming off the back of the clubs he’s played for.”


We agree with Hay here.

While Mata is a player with a lot of Premier League experience and Leeds have a relatively young squad, the Spanish attacker simply wouldn’t fit into the way this side plays.

Leeds play with pace, power and aggression and Mata has never really been that kind of player.

He’s incredible on the ball. He’s got superb vision and some of the best technique the Premier League has seen in the last decade.

However, he’ll turn 35 before the season ends and a player who’s never really been blessed with pace could end up becoming a passenger in this Leeds side.

You also have to consider the financial aspect of any deal as we doubt Mata was on a low wage at Man United, a club that throws money at any old player.

Plus, would he even get game-time with Rodrigo showing he could have a good campaign with an impressive pre-season and performance in the Premier League opening-day win over Wolves.

Roll the clocks back a few years and we would have loved Mata.

But Leeds United really don’t need him at this point.

In other Leeds United news, Phil Hay has named two forwards linked with Leeds with a major transfer update shared.