Solskjaer open and admits Man Utd veteran’s future is in the balance

Date published: Wednesday 20th January 2021 12:09 - Matthew Briggs

Juan Mata TEAMtalk

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that Juan Mata’s future at Manchester United is up in the air.

The 32-year-old is out of contract in June, but the club do hold a 12-month option on the Spaniard.

Whether or not that will be exercised is something Solskjaer admits has not yet been decided.

The Norwegian has allowed Timothy Fosu-Mensah to join Bayer Leverkusen last week. And the United boss used his presser to preview the trip to Fulham to suggest others could follow.

That comes amid mounting speculation continuing over the likes of Mata and Jesse Lingard.

And while there does remain certain issues with Lingard, Solskjaer hinted more exits could be on.

Asked if the latter would still be at Old Trafford come the end of January, Solskjaer was keeping his guard up.

“Well, I don’t want to go into individuals but we can probably allow maybe one or two more to go out,” he said.

Mata, like Lingard, is among those to have found playing time restricted recently. In fact he has made just four starts in the Premier League and is yet to feature this year in the top flight.

“The decision is very difficult every time with Juan,” Solskjaer said. “You know he’s got the quality. If he plays, he’s scored goals, he’s contributed this season.

“Then again we’ve had other players who have taken his role as well. Mason (Greenwood) has done well in that position, Paul (Pogba) now.

“Juan really contributes in and around the group. He’s one of those that I have discussions with all the time and it’s difficult to leave him out but unfortunately that’s where it is at the moment. No decision has been made (on his contract) yet.”

‘It’s about seeing everyone as individuals and human beings’

Meanwhile, Solskjaer has opened up on the talks he has had with his players one-on-one. Luke Shaw, Paul Pogba, Fred and Anthony Martial have all kicked on since Jose Mourinho’s reign.

“It’s about seeing everyone as individuals and human beings,” the Norwegian said ahead of United’s trip to Fulham.

“I am probably more honest with them there than what I am with you and you always try to walk out of that room having affected each other.

“Even if it’s a smile and walk out in a good mood, or I’ve made them think what they need to do to get back into the team, but individual chats I do really enjoy them, to be honest. I think it’s important.

“I just remember from my time the managers and coaches I’ve had, when they took the time to really see me as a human being – the whole me, my family and everything – that’s a big part of my style.”

READ MORE: Solskjaer names two unexpected traits that Bruno Fernandes excels at

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