Manchester United are reportedly on the verge of agreeing a new contract extension for star player Juan Mata.
According to Mirror, Manchester United could soon officiate the contract extension of Juan Mata. The Spaniard is believed to be included in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans for next season and will thereby, be rewarded with a new contract that could keep him at Old Trafford for another year.
Mata’s existing contract with United expires at the end of this month and the player was reportedly demanding a pay raise. And despite United’s initial wish of not meeting Mata’s demands, it seems like that the Red Devils and the player are likely to arrive at a compromise, with his contract set to expire in two weeks time.
This wouldn’t exactly be a massive boost for Manchester United fans as the Spaniard has evidently struggled to make himself a first-team player at Old Trafford in recent seasons. In fact, he is yet to muster over 2,000 minutes of league football in any of his last three seasons at the club.
Mata made only 22 appearances in the recently concluded Premier League campaign, amassing a little under 1,300 minutes, which is clearly unacceptable for a player of his calibre. Struggling to crack the first-team at United, the playmaker was even linked with a move to Barcelona earlier this summer.
That being said, the 31-year-old could play a prominent role at United under Solskjaer next season given United’s shortcomings in the attacking department. The likes of Alexis Sanchez, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard have all struggled with lack of consistency.
The Red Devils have recently signed Daniel James of Swansea. But, the youngster is unlikely to be given a berth in the starting lineup from the get-go given his lack of experience at the highest level of football.
Furthermore, Paul Pogba is destined to leave Old Trafford this summer after revealing his ambition to try something new elsewhere amid speculations linking him to a move to Real Madrid. And this could free up space and competition for Mata, who can be either utilised as an advanced midfielder or a right winger in Solskjaer’s 4-3-3. Alternatively, he can be deployed as the lone attacking midfielder in case of a 4-3-1-2.
Hence, Mata’s versatility could be useful in squad rotation next season. The Spaniard also has a vast experience in the English top-flight and has that winning mentality that could play a key role in guiding a relatively young Manchester United side in the right direction in the new season.