Veteran Manchester United midfielder ‘has options to go on loan’ in January

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Recent reports state that several players in the Red Devils squad want to leave the club before the start of next season.

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata ‘has options to go on loan’ this month, according to reports.

The experienced midfielder has been linked with moves to his native Spain, and America, in recent weeks, while other sources claim he will remain at the club until at least the summer.

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Mata has played just three times this season, one coming in the final minutes of a 2-0 Champions League win over Villarreal, while the others were starts against West Ham United in the League Cup and the 1-1 draw with Young Boys last month.

Mata has started just two games for United this season. Credit: Getty.Mata has started just two games for United this season. Credit: Getty.
Mata has started just two games for United this season. Credit: Getty.

What has been reported?

As reported in the MailOnline, Mata has ‘options to go out on loan to Spain and MLS this month’.

There aren’t many suggestions who the US side could be, however, regarding a move to La Liga, the 33-year-old has previously been touted as an option for Barcelona.

The Sun also suggested at the end of December that Real Sociedad would be interested in bringing Mata back to his homeland, if United could grant him a free transfer in January.

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Meanwhile, journalist Jonathan Shrager tweeted earlier this week saying there was ‘a good chance’ the No.8 would remain at United until the end of the season and added there had been ‘no talks regarding a possible January transfer’.

How long has Mata been at United?

Mata is actually one of United’s longest-serving players, having joined the club in January 2014.

Then a Spanish international, Mata was signed from Chelsea by David Moyes for what at the time was a club-record fee of £37m.

Since then, he’s gone on to play 276 games for the club, scoring 51 goals and registered 47 assists.

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Mata joined United from Chelsea in 2014. Credit: Getty.Mata joined United from Chelsea in 2014. Credit: Getty.
Mata joined United from Chelsea in 2014. Credit: Getty.

However, his appearances over recent years have been limited. He’s made just three this season and 18 in the previous campaign, only starting six league games all term in 2020/21.

Our view - should Mata leave?

There was general amazement in the summer when Mata agreed a new contract given how little game time he’s seen in recent campaigns.

It’s another example of the irrational thinking at boardroom level, to hand a new deal to a player who will turn 34 at the end of the season and clearly wasn’t part of the manager’s plans.

The decision looks even more ill-advised given the recent widespread reports that there’s something of a player revolt at the club, with The Mail claiming up to 17 players want to leave United before the end of next season.

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Mata should be one of them. What purpose does him staying at United bring? There’s only so much a ‘calming influence on the dressing room’ can bring when he’s not playing games, and for a footballer to have almost zero on-field impact by January is damning.

Not to say the finger of blame lies with Mata, who has had a brilliant career in England, but in his final playing years a move away from Old Trafford is best for all parties. Ideally, one in January.

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