90min
Manchester United Transfer

Juan Mata considering Man Utd future and could leave in January

Toby Cudworth
Mata is now a bit-part player at Manchester United
Mata is now a bit-part player at Manchester United / Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
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Juan Mata is considering his future at Manchester United after playing just 62 minutes of Carabao Cup football this season.

The Spaniard is out of contract at Old Trafford next summer and is free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with clubs from abroad in January.

But the MEN note that the attacking midfielder could look to depart the Red Devils in the winter window - should an interested party come forward with a suitable offer - because he is frustrated with his lack of first-team opportunities.

The 33-year-old has been a regular fixture in United's side for much of his nine-year tenure, but Mata has seen his minutes dwindle over the past couple of seasons. Bruno Fernandes has assumed the role of regular starter in the attacking midfield role, while the last year and a half has seen Mason Greenwood burst onto the scene as a prominent first-team player.

The arrival of Jadon Sancho this summer and successful reintegration of Jesse Lingard, following a six-month loan spell at West Ham, has further limited Mata's opportunities, illustrated by the fact that he's only played 62 minutes of Carabao Cup football this season.

Mata wasn't even included in United's squad for the Premier League clash with Aston Villa on Saturday, which surprisingly ended in a 1-0 defeat, and the imminent returns of Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford suggest he's now surplus to requirements.

There's no indication of where Mata could go at this stage, but his situation is unlikely to improve given the aforementioned wealth of options at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's disposal.

A return to Spain is possible for a player who first moved to England a decade ago. Mata joined Chelsea in 2011, winning the Champions League and Europa League in his first two seasons with the club.

He then joined United in 2014, but has added just three further bits of silverware in that time - the FA Cup in 2016, the EFL Cup in 2017 and the Europa League, also in 2017.

Mata also played a part in United's run to last season's final, which ended in defeat to Villarreal after a penalty shootout.

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