Juan Mata is reportedly set to end his eight-year stay at Manchester United this summer when his contract expires – and a move back to Spain could be on the cards.
The 33-year-old agreed to a 12-month extension at Old Trafford last summer but will now become a free agent at the end of the season should he decide not to renew terms again.
And this development has alerted a number of LaLiga clubs who have made enquiries about the playmaker, according to The Athletic.
Juan Mata is expected to end his eight-year stay at Manchester United this summer
Mata has found minutes hard to come by this season having played just four times across the Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.
He is yet to make a Premier League appearance this campaign.
The report from The Athletic has also claimed that the former Spain international is training ‘very well’ and has no fitness issues as it stands, which has led to confusion as to why he’s barely featured this season.
He has only played twice under Ralf Rangnick since the German took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer earlier this season.
Mata has scored 51 goals and contributed 47 assists in 277 games for United and the Spaniard, who has won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, still feels he can contribute at the highest level.
Mata is in the final few months of his deal and is attracting interest from LaLiga clubs
Mata (centre), 33, is said to be training well and is confused as to why he’s not playing
Mata (centre) has only played twice under Ralf Rangnick (left) since taking over from Solskjaer
The former Chelsea forward was on the bench for United’s humiliating 4-1 defeat by rivals Manchester City on Sunday, with the performance from Rangnick’s men being slammed by Gary Neville.
Trailing to a Kevin De Bruyne goal after just five minutes, United rallied and eventually gained a foothold in the game, drawing level halfway through the first half courtesy of a brilliant finish by Jadon Sancho.
De Bruyne put City back in front shortly after but Ralf Rangnick’s team remained in the game until the end of the first half, before the wheels came off spectacularly after the restart.
The Premier League champions completely outclassed their rivals in the second half, with Riyad Mahrez scoring twice as United failed to lay a glove on their rivals.
City toyed with their rivals and enjoyed 92 per cent of possession in the final 15 minutes.
Mata watched from the bench as United got hammered 4-1 by Manchester City on Sunday
‘Manchester United’s response to going 3-1 down has been embarrassing. I have never seen anything like that in any game of football,’ Neville said while on-commentary on Sky Sports.
‘Ninety-two per cent possession for City? They [United] have given up. I get the fact that it’s hard, they are playing against a top team but they are walking around the pitch. It’s nowhere near good enough.
‘I don’t think the scoreline it’s the problem, it’s the response to going 3-1 down that’s been the biggest problem for me. They have absolutely thrown the towel in.’
City were comfortably better than United in every department, ending the game with 24 shots to the visitors’ five and keeping the ball for 70 percent of the game.
Gary Neville hit out at United saying they ‘gave up’ towards the end of the second half
Through their slick passing and constant movement Mahrez, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish proved a constant thorn in the side for United’s back four, who simply could not cope with City.
Neville acknowledged the gulf between the sides, but insisted the demeanour of several United players was a far bigger concern than the gap in quality between the two Manchester rivals.
‘The first thing to say is that Manchester City were outstanding, particularly in the second-half,’ he added.
‘But at the end of the game, Manchester United finished like an absolute shower. They were a disgrace in the last 25 minutes.
Neville savaged United once again following their limp second-half display at the Etihad
‘It’s the first time Ralf Rangnick has taken them against a proper team and they have been given a proper doing.’
The Sky Sports pundit also took to social media before 6am on Monday morning with a screenshot of the possession stats which showed Guardiola’s side had enjoyed 92 per cent possession in the previous 15 minutes of the match.
‘Still can’t get my head around that!’ Neville wrote. ‘However City aren’t just better on the pitch. A new dawn for United with Richard Arnold as CEO and a new manager incoming but yesterday was a fitting memorial to the “Ed Woodward/Glazer“ last 10 years of mismanagement.’