Mata, who was sold by Mourinho to Man United while the pair were at Chelsea in 2014, has reportedly been deemed surplus to requirements once again by the Portuguese.
Mourinho is focused on clearing deadweight from his inherited squad – along with the player’s salaries – and Mata looks to be the highest profile casualty.
Mata has established something of a cult following at United due to his endearing character but, when you think about it, it would be hard to disagree with his exit.
The Spaniard has enjoyed an impressive goals and assists return for United since his arrival but there has always been a sense that he is not quite doing enough to justify his inclusion in the team.
Mata goes missing too much and his defensive contribution is often not up to scratch, although, in his defence, he was made to play on the right hand side under Louis van Gaal.
If United are to get back to the top, tough decisions have to be made and the first one of Mourinho’s tenure may well lead to Mata’s departure.