Chris Waddle thinks Alexis Sanchez will replace Juan Mata in the current Manchester United side, if the Chilean completes his January move to Old Trafford.

David Ornstein tweeted on Tuesday that Alexis had agreed personal terms with Manchester United. It’s not a done deal just yet, however, since Arsenal won’t sell unless Henrikh Mkhitaryan comes the other way.

If it goes through, Waddle thinks the 29-year-old will slot into Juan Mata or Jesse Lingard’s positions, saying: “If Jose Mourinho gets Sanchez, I think he’ll take Juan Mata out. Anthony Martial has done well. He could take Jesse Lingard’s role. It will probably either be Mata or Lingard.”

juan mata
Juan Mata (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Manchester United recently activated an option on Juan Mata’s contract to extend it by a further year. The Spaniard now has a deal running until 2019, but he’s never been particularly close to manager Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese manager sold him to United when he was Chelsea boss, after all. Plus, he only has three goals and four assists in 24 matches this season. I doubt the United manager is going to lose much sleep over dropping him for Alexis.

Jesse Lingard, on the other hand, has scored more and assisted more than the Arsenal forward this season. The 25-year-old has 11 goals to Alexis’ eight, and one more assist as well.

Bizarre as it is, I’d back the Englishman to keep his place in the team over Mata. We’ll see what happens if it goes through.