Barcelona are reportedly tracking Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata with a view to a summer move for the Spain international.
Spanish football expert Guillem Balague rubbished talk of an approach from Barca on transfer deadline day, but the Daily Mail report that the Catalan club are giving consideration to a summer bid for the 27-year-old.
Contact between Barcelona and Mata’s representatives is believed to have been made, however the discussions have not progressed beyond that point.
Mata is happy at Old Trafford and eager to make a success of his time in Manchester after signed for United from Chelsea in a £37million deal in January 2014.
Mata’s contract at United expires in June 2018 and this summer is seen as pivotal in his and the future of Manchester United with boss Louis van Gaal’s future likely to be reviewed.
Van Gaal last month admitted that Mata was not “a right winger in the profile I have”, but still claimed he was happy with the player’s contribution to the team.
A new managerial appointment at Old Trafford could change Mata’s stance and the lure of Barcelona may become too hard to refuse, while a new coach is likely to want to shape his own squad with or without Mata.
However, Barca coach Luis Enrique is keen to recruit an attacking midfielder in the summer to ease the burden on 31-year-old Andres Iniesta and Mata is seen as a viable alternative.
Balague gave the story short shrift on Monday; he tweeted: “Rubbish story of the day: the rumours about Mata. He is staying put, doesn’t want to go, United don’t want to sell at all.”
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) February 1, 2016