Juan Mata is widely regarded as an excellent player in the number 10 role but has been played out of position by Louis van Gaal for most of the season. This could see him make his way to La Liga, adding to Manchester United’s spending power as they prepare for another summer shopping spree at the end of this season.
The Spaniard joined Manchester United from Chelsea for a transfer fee of £37 million in January 2014. Although he had been an impressive player at Stamford Bridge, he was shunted out by then manager Jose Mourinho. History could end up repeating itself in the summer, with Mata not fitting into Louis van Gaal’s possession-based philosophy at Old Trafford.
Mata has been a regular first-team player with the Red Devils, but is reportedly considered expendable by the club. The Spaniard has only scored 5 goals and registered 5 assists in 35 appearances for Van Gaal’s side this season.
A return to Spain
Juan Mata is a product of the Real Madrid academy and joined Valencia as a 19-year old. His performances for the La Liga side attracted attention from Chelsea, who signed him in 2011 for a transfer fee believed to be around £23.5 million. A return to his native country could well be the perfect move for the midfielder.
According to the Independent, Atletico Madrid and Manchester United are in talks over the potential transfer of the 27-year-old. However, Diego Simeone and Atleti are reportedly unwilling to meet the club’s £30 million valuation of Mata.
The Chinese connection
Manchester United will not be short of options if they are serious in their intent to offload Juan Mata. If Atletico Madrid are not willing to meet the asking price set by the Red Devils, there is always the free-spending Chinese Super League to turn to.
According to the Sunday People (via the Daily Mirror), there are three Chinese clubs who are reportedly interested in signing Mata. Chinese clubs have established a reputation for spending huge amounts of money in recent times, breaking the country’s transfer record thrice in the space of around 10 days in late January and early February this year.
They paid £31 million for 29-year-old Jackson Martinez who wasn’t firing in La Liga, and they could well pay even more than that for a player like Juan Mata who is in the prime of his career.
However, it remains to be seen whether the Spaniard would consider a move to China.