Reports in Spain claim Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has opened dialogue with Real Sociedad about joining the club as a free agent next summer.
The 33-year-old has been at Old Trafford since leaving Chelsea in January 2014. The former Spain international has made 276 appearances in all competitions, scoring 51 goals. But his game time has been vastly reduced in recent years to the point where he is no more than a squad player.
He has yet to kick a ball in the league this term, with two Champions League outings and one in the EFL Cup. The former Valencia schemer will be out of contract in the summer.
And, with little prospect of extending his stay in Manchester, he can open negotiations with foreign clubs in January. Earlier in December, The Daily Star reported that Barcelona were keen to sign the veteran in the winter window.
However, with six months left on his United deal, they would need to pay a fee. But Barca’s financial woes are well known and they hoped the Red Devils would let him leave for nothing.
The Catalans were hoping for a favour from the north-west giants but AS (via Sport Witness) are reporting that Mata is looking elsewhere. The Spanish outlet suggests Sociedad are eyeing a replacement for the departing Adnan Januzaj at the end of the campaign.
And the report adds that due to his quality, he is a ‘more than attractive’ option for La Real.
Mata expected to drop demands
Having played little football, it is clear Mata wants to join a club where he will see action. One problem could be his wages, with the attacking midfielder thought to earn £130,000 per week.
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That is a considerable sum for a player who has been warming the bench for the majority of 2021-2022. It is unlikely that he will be able to command that level of income at any new club.
Therefore a compromise will need to be reached if he is to continue his playing career back in his homeland. Sociedad were linked as long ago as September and made enquiries as to his status before he penned a one-year United extension.
They have bided their time but, if the report is to be believed, may get their man in the summer.