Not everybody will have been delighted by Manchester United’s choice of new manager…
Midfielder Juan Mata is one of the most popular players at Old Trafford, but the arrival of manager José Mourinho last week has apparently thrown his future into doubt.
Mata previously worked under Mourinho at Chelsea, but the relationship between the pair was somewhat strained. Despite the Spanish international being an integral member of the Chelsea side in each of the previous two seasons, José never really took to Mata’s style of play, and Mata was not able to nail down a regular spot in Mourinho’s starting eleven as a result.
It was no surprise, therefore, when Mourinho ended up selling Mata to Manchester United in January 2014.
History could be about to repeat itself, as Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo are today reporting that Mata could be given a route out of Old Trafford by none other than La Liga champions Barcelona.
The report alleges that Luis Enrique will look to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding the 28 year old’s situation, with the belief in the Barcelona camp being that he is very much an attainable target this summer.
Mata’s exclusion from Vicente del Bosque’s European Championship squad will only make him more unsettled at Old Trafford, and it will definitely be in the player’s mind that a move to Barça would virtually guarantee reinstatement into the national side.
If Mata does sign for Barcelona, it seems likely then that the club would look to sell Arda Turan. The Turkish international only arrived at the Camp Nou last summer in a €35m deal with Atlético – and could only play since January due to Barcelona’s transfer embargo – but he has not had the desired effect in the team. Reports in recent weeks have suggested that his time at the club could be relatively short.
It remains to be seen if Mourinho does give Mata a chance to impress, or if he has already made his mind up about him. He never really gave Mata much of an opportunity at Chelsea – preferring Oscar in the number 10 role almost from day one – which suggests that a parting of the ways seems inevitable.
Mata’s popularity will probably do little to sway Mourinho’s ultimate decision – he was also popular at Stamford Bridge.
It may or may not be Barcelona that Mata ends up at, but he could very well be on his way out of Manchester United this summer.