Manchester United feel particularly disappointed at Juan Mata leaving, with a report revealing he rejected a move into other parts of the club.
The 34-year-old was out of contract this summer, like other players who have also left Old Trafford. Indeed, United further confirmed the exits of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard this week.
Pogba and Lingard still have a lot of their careers to play, but Mata is edging towards the end of his time on the field.
As a result, the Manchester Evening News has revealed how United had plans for him in the inner workings of the club.
Man Utd offered him Mata one more playing contract with the promise of an ‘administrative’ role at Old Trafford.
Club chiefs saw him following a similar path to fellow Spaniards Xabi Alonso, Xavi and Carles Puyol. Puyol has set up an agency, while Xavi and Alonso have moved into coaching.
However, Mata rejected Man Utd‘s offer. He is instead considering offers to continue his career in the USA and MLS.
Nevertheless, United reportedly hope they can convince the 41-cap Spain international to return to Old Trafford in the future.
In fact, they see Mata in a technical director role, which former Red Devils midfielder Darren Fletcher currently occupies.
Mata, who signed for United from Chelsea in 2014, was a key figure for a lot of his time at United.
However, his influence has waned in recent seasons. He only made 12 appearances this term, with his first of seven Premier League outings coming on April 9.
Indeed, United turned to him as their season began to fizzle out and their top-four hopes became out of reach.
Nevertheless, he has proved a leader in the dressing room, helping out the younger talents. And that is why United wanted to keep him around.
Mata exit part of Man Utd fresh start
Mata, though, saw his future elsewhere and it remains unclear where he will be playing his football next season.
His exit, alongside departures for Lingard, Pogba and Edinson Cavani, will hopefully help usher in a new era at the club.
Juan Mata rules out retirement but La Liga move likely
Juan Mata has ruled out retirement but will leave Manchester United this summer with a move to Real Betis or Real Sociedad likely
United needed to move such players on as new manager Erik ten Hag comes in looking to stamp his mark on the club.
And now that they have left, Ten Hag can get to work revamping his squad, especially in midfield.