La Liga side Villarreal are reportedly interested in signing out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata if they can confirm Champions League football for the coming season by winning their play-off against AS Monaco. 

 

The Yellow Submarine have identified the Spaniard as a player who could help their cause in the Champions League and La Liga. Villarreal are determined to sign the 28-year-old in an effort to add attacking flair to the team, according to Goal.

However, one major hurdle in the deal is the massive salary that Mata earns at Old Trafford — reportedly up to £140,000 a week, which is a figure that Villarreal would be unwilling to match. The report states that the Spanish club will attempt to sign Mata on loan, with a purchase option as part of the deal.

The Yellow Submarine are not expected to table an official bid until after they’ve confirmed their qualification for the Champions League group stage. However, the former Chelsea man will have to accept a wage cut and the move could be blocked if he decides against it or if Man United insist on a permanent transfer.

On the way back to La Liga (Photo Credit: EPA/Peter Powell)

On the way back to La Liga? (Photo Credit: EPA/Peter Powell)

Juan Mata’s future at Old Trafford was immediately cast in doubt after Jose Mourinho arrived as the new manager. The pair fell out during their time at Chelsea, with the Portuguese manager selling the two-time club Player of the Season to Manchester United in January 2014 for £37.1 million.

Although Mourinho has given Mata assurances about his future at Old Trafford, things came to a head recently during the Red Devils’ Community Shield victory over Leicester City. The Spaniard was brought on from the bench in the second half, only to be substituted in the final minutes of the game. It was a perplexing decision by Mourinho, who later explained that he made it because of Mata’s small frame and the fact that the Foxes were playing long balls in the box in search of a last gasp equaliser.

Mata is not likely to see much first team action next season and he could be tempted by a move back to Spain, where he first made a name for himself with Valencia. Villarreal have already signed former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato, who spent the latter half of last season on loan at Chelsea, and the arrival of Mata could help them raise their game if both players are able to play at a level close to their best.

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