Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata, who is a transfer target for Barcelona, is reportedly also being pursued by Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United.

As per a report from The Sun, Premier League outfit Newcastle United are plotting a swoop for Manchester United star Juan Mata, whose contract will expire at the end of next month. The Spaniard is also a target for La Liga champions Barcelona.

Mata has been with Manchester United since January 2014, when he was signed from Chelsea in a £37.1 million deal. The playmaker has survived a number of managerial changes at Old Trafford and has established himself as a fan favourite at the club, making 218 appearances, in which he has scored 45 goals and set up 37 more.

The 2018-19 campaign saw Mata turn out on 32 occasions for Manchester United in all competitions, bagging six goals in the process. The midfielder saw his involvement reduce quite a bit in the second half of the campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which has led to him considering his future with the 20-time English champions.

Mata’s contract situation has led to a number of clubs from Spain taking an interest, chief among them being Barcelona. The Catalans have a packed midfield department and given the way Ernesto Valverde sets his teams up, there isn’t much of a need for a No. 10 like Mata.

However, the Spaniard has proven quite adept at playing on the right flank for Manchester United and factoring in his prior experience in La Liga, Mata could prove to be a shrewd purchase for the club, more so considering that he will cost nothing in transfer fees.

Latest reports though, claim that Barcelona have new competition for his signing in the form of Newcastle United. Magpies manager Rafael Benitez has worked with the playmaker during his stint as the Chelsea boss in 2012-13 season, when he led them to a UEFA Europa League triumph.

Will Juan Mata end up leaving Manchester United? (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Will Juan Mata end up leaving Manchester United? (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Having managed to stave off relegation from the Premier League, Newcastle definitely need to boost up their ranks next season and could use someone of Mata’s ilk, who could add that element of creativity missing in their play in the final third, while his volumes of experience at the top level would come in more than handy as well.

However, any potential deal hinges on Benitez staying as the Tyneside outfit’s manager for the next season. The 59-year-old has just a month left on his current contract with Newcastle and is negotiating with owner Mike Ashley over the possibility of a new deal. Mata’s wages too could prove to be a bone of contention in the move going through.

Mata has a new one-year contract offer at hand from Manchester United, but the Spaniard is reluctant to put pen to the deal, as he is holding out for a deal that runs for 24 months. With no lack of suitors to secure his signing once his current contract expires, it remains to be seen where the Spaniard ends up come next season.

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