Barcelona have made progress in a potential deal to prize Juan Mata away from Manchester United this summer, according to Bleacher Report‘s Dean Jones.
The Spaniard made 40 appearances under Jose Mourinho last season but his presence in the starting XI has diminished since the arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January.
His place in the side may be further jeopardised should Mourinho decide to splash out on another attacking signing this summer. Aleksandr Golovin and Gareth Bale have been mentioned as options.
And according to Dean Jones, the departure of Andres Iniesta and decision of Antoine Griezmann to remain at Atletico Madrid has made Mata one of Barcelona’s main targets this summer.
Hearing that some progress is being made in a potential deal for Juan Mata to join Barcelona this summer
— Dean Jones (@DeanJonesSoccer) June 23, 2018
Mata has always been a valuable presence in the Man United team, coming up with moments of incision and a sense of calm, control, balance. He has been a reliable smooth edge in a team often plagued by a lack of technicians.
But his importance to the team is certainly fading. Mourinho no longer sees him as a starting player and perhaps no longer trusts Mata to haul his team out of sticky situations. He is a player who is great to have when you are winning and in control but largely useless when an encounter becomes an uphill struggle.
Perhaps a move to Barcelona and La Liga, where he would slot in like a silky glove, serves as the best option for Mata at this point in his career.