Reports claim Manchester United could be set to hold talks with veteran midfielder Juan Mata about extending his contract at the club.
Mata, 32, moved to Old Trafford from Chelsea in January 2014. A regular during his first four seasons, the Spain international is now on the peripheries. He has made just four starts and is yet to complete 90 minutes in 2020-2021.
The former Valencia man’s game time has been dwindling for the past couple of years. He made just eight top-flight starts among 19 outings last term and it seemed as though his days were numbered.
His deal is due to expire next summer but Todo Fichajes suggest the Red Devils want to keep him around. There is said to be an option in his terms allowing for a further year if both parties agree.
It appears as though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to keep the experienced player in his ranks until 2022.
Mata has bagged 50 goals for the north-west giants and has a couple in the EFL Cup this term. His influence on the pitch may be waning but youngsters in the squad will benefit from his professional attitude.
Boss urges unity
Solskjaer wants United’s players to stick together to help pull them up the standings. That may be a reason why Mata could be offered a new deal at the Theatre of Dreams.
Having made an indifferent start to the campaign, United now sit tenth in the table, with 13 points from eight games. They have won back-to-back league games, beating West Brom 1-0 last time out thanks to Bruno Fernandes’ penalty.
The Norwegian tactician has been under pressure for some time but remains optimistic. And he wants the squad to show a united front over the winter months.
“Now we’ll have three or four months together and it’s about staying together, sticking together, sticking to the way we want to play games and improve every time,” he said.
“Defensively we’re getting there, definitely. We’re working hard, closing down, not conceding many chances, and we created enough chances to win this comfortably as well, but we need to be more clinical.”
United are next in league action at Southampton on Sunday and face Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Mata started the match when Solskjaer’s side went down 2-1 to the Turks on November 4. They still sit top of Group H, however, with six points from three games played.