Barcelona want to sign rarely-seen Manchester United star Juan Mata in January, though their hopes rest entirely on a charitable favour.
The Spanish playmaker, 33, has increasingly become a peripheral figure at Old Trafford. Mata has been handed an ever-decreasing number of league appearances over the past four seasons. In the current campaign, he is yet to register a single minute of Premier League action.
Mata penned a new one-year contract with the Red Devils last year. Given his lack of involvement this season, the likelihood of this being his final year in Manchester seems high.
Adding further fuel to the fire is the demands of interim boss Ralf Rangnick. The German commands high intensity, pressing football from each of his outfield players. Those requirements do not suit Mata, especially at age 33.
As such, the Daily Star shed light on a possible exit route to Barcelona next month.
Mata deal depends on charitable favour
They state Mata is a target for Xavi’s side, though their January hopes will depend on a United favour.
Barcelona’s financial woes mean they will reportedly be unwilling – or unable – to offer a transfer fee. In other words, they are hoping United and Rangnick will allow Mata to leave for free six months early.
If the Red Devils refuse, Barcelona could seek Mata’s signature as a free agent next summer.
Barcelona want bargain Mata deal in January
Mata wants the game time that Man United no longer offer him.
Allowing Mata to walk for nothing in January could be to United’s benefit.
Mata is reportedly earning £130,000-per-week. Ridding their wage bill of that salary could give their own transfer plans a shot in the arm.
Man Utd in ‘advanced talks’ with Ligue 1 midfielder
Meanwhile, Manchester United are reportedly in advanced talks to sign Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, despite strong interest from LaLiga giants Barcelona.
The France Under-21 star has been in impressive form over the first half of the season. However, he looks set to quit Marseille, with his contract running out in the summer.
That has led to a scramble for his signature, with United and Barca the leading contenders to complete deal.
But a report from Catalan publication El Nacional (via the Manchester Evening News) claims that the Red Devils are in the advanced stages of bringing the 22-year-old to Old Trafford.
Kamara will be able to sign a pre-contract with clubs outside of France from January, and that is what United are working towards.
The report adds that interim boss Ralf Rangnick wants to add Kamara to his midfield mix, with Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata all tipped to move on over the next six to eight months.