Manchester United attacking midfielder Juan Mata is refusing to sign a new contract ahead of a proposed move to La Liga, according to reports.
Mata has been in England since the summer of 2011, thanks to his £24million switch from Valencia to Chelsea. He went on to make 135 appearances for the Blues, helping them to win three trophies. They picked up the FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League while he was at Stamford Bridge.
The Spain international, a World Cup and European Championship winner, then opted to make a surprise move to United. The Red Devils paid £37.1m to land Mata in January 2014, making him their most expensive player at the time.
The playmaker appeared in over 20 Premier League matches for five consecutive seasons, before his influence on the team began to dwindle.
He featured in just nine league games last term after falling behind the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in the pecking order.
Mata’s fortunes have failed to improve under German boss Ralf Rangnick, meaning the veteran could secure a transfer away from Old Trafford.
Sport Witness, who cite Spanish journalist Yon Cuezva, claim the player is in negotiations over a return to La Liga.
Mata senior involved in transfer talks
Mata’s father and agent, Juan Manuel Mata, has apparently had a meeting with Real Sociedad chief Jokin Aperribay. They discussed Mata’s potential move to San Sebastian once his United contract expires in the summer.
Spanish outlet AS provide more detail on the situation. They claim Mata is refusing to pen a new United deal so he can negotiate with other teams thanks to the Bosman ruling.
La Real are ‘long-term admirers’ of the star, and they could finally make their transfer dream come true on July 1.
Mata’s transfer would see him link up with former rival David Silva, should the Manchester City legend agree an extension at Real.
Pundit ‘surprised’ by Jesse Lingard snub
Meanwhile, former United player Luke Chadwick reckons Lingard should receive more opportunities under Rangnick.
The Englishman hasn’t featured in the league since the 3-2 win over Arsenal in early December. He could leave the club this month after entering the final few months of his contract, like Mata.
“I’m really surprised we’ve not seen more of Lingard since the new manager came in,” Chadwick told Caught Offside.
“Rangnick wants to play with high energy and there’s not many more high energy players than Jesse Lingard.
“In that 4-2-2-2 formation, the movement that he has, he’s probably one of the best in the club at running beyond the striker, not just receiving the ball to feet out wide.
“I think it would be well worth giving him an opportunity. The way that he plays, the style of football we’re seeing under Rangnick, he could be a real asset.”