Former Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is in talks with Leeds United about a shock move, following his release from the Red Devils.

Spanish newspaper AS report that Leeds’ sports director Victor Orta has been in contact with Mata’s father and claims that while negotiations are slow, there is a willingness from both parties to get a deal done.

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The 34-year-old left Manchester United as a free agent when his contract expired at the end of last month, bringing an end to his eight-and-a-half years stay at Old Trafford.

The classy playmaker proved to be David Moyes’ second and final signing as Manchester United manager following his £37.1m arrival from Chelsea in January 2014.

Juan Mata in Leeds United talks

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It’s very rare for a player to switch allegiances between the two clubs given the extensive rivalry the Pennines derby brings.

Manchester United may have been interested in signing Kalvin Phillips this summer, but given the animosity between the two clubs, the holding midfielder was never going to tarnish his legendary status at Elland Road by making the controversial switch to the Theatre of Dreams.

Mata could become the 12th man to have represented Manchester United and Leeds in the Premier League era if he joins the Whites this summer.

Given Mata’s love for United and how well his departure was handled, it would be a surprise to see United’s former number eight remain in the Premier League via a move to West Yorkshire.

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One of the nicest and most intelligent footballers to grace the game, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Mata return to Manchester United in some capacity when he calls time on his playing career.

While a move to our rivals wouldn’t put a huge dent in Mata’s reputation and loyalty, it would come as a huge shock to the Manchester United fanbase.

But if the World Cup, European Championship and Champions League winner has been promised a key role under Jesse Marsch and Mata wishes to say in the Premier League, then a move to our Roses rivals could make sense for he Spanish maestro.

Mata made 285 appearances for Manchester United, scoring 51 goals and providing 47 assists. The 41-time Spain international won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League during his time in Manchester.

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