Midfielder Juan Mata is debating whether his future lies with Manchester United or not having struggled for minutes for the past few seasons.
The Spaniard joined the Red Devils from Chelsea in 2014 for £37.1million and was a key figure in their squad at that time.
However, over the past few campaigns, the former Valencia player has slipped down the pecking order under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – namely due to the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, who has stolen his attacking midfielder (no.10) spot.
Mata only made nine Premier League appearances last year and has not featured in this season’s Premier League.
According to The Sun, Mata is considering leaving Old Trafford in January, may that be on a pre-contract agreement or for a fee.
This news could shock fans who thought Mata was content at United. He signed a one-year extension to his contract in July, which will keep him on the books until next season.
The news of the extension underlined the importance of Mata mainly off the pitch, but it appears he doesn’t want to just be an influential figure away from the pitch for the last few years of his career.
Juan Mata should leave Manchester United in January. Comment below
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The club statement that broke the news of the contract extension said: “Dubbed a magician on the pitch and a gentleman off it, Mata has become one of the most popular players in recent United history and he is highly respected by all of his team-mates.
“The World Cup winner’s influence on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s young, improving squad is invaluable and the manager continues to be a huge supporter of the fleet-footed Spaniard.
“While his 2020/21 season was limited to 18 appearances, partly due to personal circumstances, Mata’s contribution remained and he was notably one of six Reds to win our Player of the Month awards, alongside Edinson Cavani, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw.”
Mata, or otherwise nicknamed ‘El Mago’, did miss a significant chunk of last season for personal reasons, but Solskjaer still hasn’t even substituted the midfielder on in the dying embers of a game this season at the very least.
This ex-Blues player has played only 62 minutes in all competitions this year, beginning against West Ham in Carabao Cup and being the first player to be substituted.