The Spaniard, now in his eighth season at Old Trafford, has only made eight Premier League appearances all season – and just seven in all competitions since the turn of the year.
Now 33, Mata’s current contract at Man United expires at the end of this month, meaning that he could leave for free this summer.
Speaking earlier this week, Solskjaer noted that he would have further talks with the midfielder to determine what his next move will be.
“I’ve kept the dialogue with Juan and we’re due to speak again very soon,” he said.
“Of course he’s not played as much as he would like and that’s a decision we will make with him.
“He’s in charge of his own future, he’s been such a good servant for the club. But it’s hard to leave good players and good people out of the team, and it’s about what does he want as his next step in his career.
“Is it to play his career out here or is it to go somewhere else? We haven’t made the final decision yet.”
We only see Mata appear in flashes these days – that dainty, mellifluous presence no longer a regular show, floating across our screens only every now and again, a player whose core qualities are still pure and delectable as ever but also – crucially – essentially the same as that of Bruno Fernandes, only without the Portugal international’s crucial vicious edge.
Can Mata press like his demonically motivated Iberian counterpart? Can those legs – after now a decade in England – match up with the raw aggression of a team whose primary strategy is breaking fast up the pitch and bursting through the lines? Can he dominate Manchester City at the Etihad? It wouldn’t seem so.
Then again, nobody thought Edinson Cavani would find the violence that is so needed to succeed in this league, and he’s 34. Perhaps Mata – possibly the nicest man to ever exist – still has time to find that extra bite. Otherwise, it looks as if a move back to Spain may well be on the cards.