Juan Mata: Player willing to make double sacrifice to join Leeds as report names major rival for his signature

Juan Mata of Manchester United during the Premier League matchagainst Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, London

Juan Mata is reportedly willing to make a move to Leeds United his main priority this summer amid claims the veteran star will turn his back on a return to LaLiga in the process.

The 34-year-old is a free agent having seen his Manchester United deal expire in the summer. During his eight-a-half-year stay at Old Trafford, the Spain star was one of the most popular players with fans and players alike. And while he played an increasingly lesser role in recent times, his time with the Red Devils will be fondly remembered.

Now available on a free, the player was reportedly set to return to his homeland to see out his playing days.

However, he could tarnish his Man Utd legacy somewhat amid claims that Leeds are in talks over a deal.

As per AS, Leeds director of football Victor Orta is in talks with the player’s father and agent Juan Manuel Mata Rodriguez.

And it seems talks are accelerating if the latest reports in Spain are accurate.

The Whites have already signed Marc Roca, Tyler Adams and Darko Gyabi to bolster their midfield this summer. But there is a feeling that they lack that guile and a certain Premier League experience – and that’s where Mata could come in.

Juan Mata willing to take vast wages cut

Now, as per Marca, Mata is willing to accept a vastly-reduced salary to seal a move to Elland Road.

The player was on a huge £160,000 a week at Old Trafford – but is willing to accept far less to continue playing in England. Quite what that salary would be remains to be seen; however, he would need at least a 50% drop on that amount to secure a potential move.

Furthermore, the report claims Leeds do have an offer on the table for Mata which the player is ‘now studying’.

Indeed, they claim staying in the Premier League is now the priority for the 34-year-old, with wages now of ‘secondary consideration’ to continue competing at a high level

And as well as making a salary sacrifice, Mata is also willing to turn his back on a LaLiga suitor to make a switch to Leeds.

Per Marca, they state Mata has several offers on the table with interest from Real Betis the most concrete. They have let it be known they are keen on his signing, though are yet to put a firm offer to him or his father.

As such, that gives Orta a genuine chance of securing his signature instead. They state he is ‘waiting to see what happens’ with Leeds, especially since little progress is being made as far as Spanish clubs are concerned.

If price is right, player worth a deal at Leeds

With Leeds only just avoiding the drop last season, there is a belief among neutrals that they will face another struggle again.

Losing their two best players is a tough ask for any side – and Leeds United will hope those they have brought in are up to the task.

It’s also a fair comment to suggest their side lacks that little bit of know-how – which is why a move for Mata could be a smart move.

Now 34, his best days are clearly behind him. But as a player of vast experience – he has over 400 appearances for Chelsea and Man Utd combined – he could prove a telling influence off the bench.

Premier League sides can make five subs per game from the 2022/23 season. And having Mata as an option for the club would certainly benefit them.

If his wages are right, then this is a signing that would make a lot of sense. While he wouldn’t be a regular, he could certainly clock up plenty of minutes off the bench for Jesse Marsch’s side.

Meanwhile, Raphinha has spoken out for the first time as his move from Leeds to Barcelona draws closer.