Juan Mata will have his pick of three LaLiga clubs this summer after a report confirmed he has decided to quit Manchester United and return to Spain.
The veteran playmaker has played an increasingly reduced role for the Red Devils in recent seasons. Indeed, having signed from Chelsea for £37.1m in January 2014, Mata has made 283 appearances for United.
However, Mata has appeared just 28 times over the past two seasons, with only 10 matches to his name this season. And during Monday’s 3-0 win over Brentford – Manchester United’s last home game of the season – Mata was handed his first start.
It was seen as a sign by many of a sure sign of his departure this summer. And his emotional applauding of the supporters upon his substitution in the 73rd minute further strengthened these claims.
It’s a shame the same opportunity was not afforded to Jesse Lingard, with the player making a subtle dig at Ralf Rangnick.
Ahead of what is sure to be a summer of massive changes, Mata is one player United are seemingly willing to keep around. While his contract expires on June 30, we understand United are open to keeping him on a one-year extension.
And while Rangnick is publicly conceding the Spaniard may leave, he’s also keen to stress that nothing has been communicated to the club as of yet.
However, Wednesday’s edition of Sport claims Mata has now decided against staying at Old Trafford and will finish his career in Spain.
Now 35, they claim Mata ‘always had it in his mind’ to return to Spain when arriving in England in 2011.
Star to pick from three clubs
Furthermore, they report that Mata will now choose from three clubs where to end his playing days. They write that three clubs are reportedly in the running to sign the veteran star.
As such, Mata will pick from former club Valencia, as well as Real Betis and Real Sociedad.
They write that all three clubs are ‘following’ Mata and are ‘attentive to his needs’ for a transfer.
Los Che has the obvious advantage given Mata’s association with the club.
However, Sport concedes that the other two LaLiga outfits offer Mata a more competitive sporting angle.
Indeed, both Betis and Sociedad look likely to offer Mata European football next season, something Valencia will not.
And Sport concludes that this is an ‘extra attraction’ as the duo look to beat Los Che to his signature.
Juan Mata the model professional
Wherever he ends up, Juan Mata will be fondly remembered for his time at United.
While no longer commanding of a first-team place, he has remained a hugely-popular figure among the dressing room. A fans’ favourite too, the player has never once complained about his lack of action or kicked up a stink.
Furthermore, his charitable actions will forever win acclaim.
Back in August 2017, Mata announced a 1% donation of his salary to the movement, Common Goal. He also implored many other players to follow suit.
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
On the field, Mata has collected winners medals in the FA Cup, the EFL Cup and the Europa League.
He also has 41 caps for his country, scoring 10 times.
And during his eight and a half seasons at Old Trafford, he also has 51 goals to his name.