Juan Mata’s future at Manchester United depends on whether he is willing to take a massive pay cut, reports claim.
The mercurial Spaniard is out of contract after seven and a half years at Old Trafford which have seen him work under four different managers.
Mata was used sparingly by boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last term and played just 861 minutes of football, scoring three goals and registering three assists. A one-year contract extension option has not been triggered by United.
This has led to speculation that he would be released, but The Daily Star claims that there is a revised contract on the table.
‘The Spanish midfielder… has been offered a new one-year deal,’ the outlet claims as an exclusive.
‘However, Mata will have to agree to his weekly salary being slashed from £170,000 to £100,000.
‘Whether the ex-Chelsea playmaker accepts those terms remains to be seen – and may depend on what other clubs are willing to pay him to secure his services.
‘The fact he would be a free if he decides to walk means the likes of former club Valencia and Barcelona, who have been linked with a summer swoop, could better the package on the Old Trafford table.’
The Star’s argument that the decision will come down to money seems at best simplistic and at worst, incorrect.
If it is true that United are willing to offer £100,000 per week, it seems highly unlikely that either Barcelona or Valencia, two clubs in financial turmoil, would better that amount.
What may be more important to the 33-year-old is playing time, something that might indeed draw him back to his former club on the Costa Blanca.
Los Che have done well to survive in La Liga after having sold virtually all their best players to ward off bankruptcy.
They have not fully replaced Dani Parejo as captain after he left for Villareal, so Mata could potentially make a return to the Mestalla in that role and help head coach Jose Bordelas build on the foundations of that survival season.
On the other hand, another season at United – and possibly more – would give Mata more chance of winning a trophy and securing a potential coaching role as he heads toward the twilight of his career.