Juan Mata reportedly considering leaving Manchester United in January

Juan Mata is reportedly considering leaving Manchester United in the January transfer window.

The MEN reports Mata will be open to leaving United if his playing time does not increase.

Mata has played only one match this season. That came in the Carabao Cup defeat last week.

He was substituted after 62 minutes and United’s defeat and elimination is also a blow to his game time.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

At the weekend he was not in the squad to face Aston Villa. That was the first time he hadn’t made the bench all season.

But like so often last season, Solskjaer has not used him even when he has been an option. In 2020/21 he was an unused substitute 25 times.

The MEN‘s report claims Mata would be open to staying if his game time increases. But it is hard to see that happening.

Mata dropped to the bench with Edinson Cavani coming into the side as an option. With Marcus Rashford closing in on a return from injury, that is another attacking player who will push Mata down the pecking order.

Renewing his deal never made sense

United’s decision to renew Mata’s contract felt odd at the time. It was a decision made out of goodwill towards the Spaniard, rather than for the team.

But it is not actually doing him any good. Mata could leave United and find a club where he actually plays, perhaps back in Spain.

While it would be a great story if Mata’s spell at United ended with a title win, it would be hollow if he did not play a part, and it is not exactly a sure thing in any case.

Renewing Mata’s contract was an unnecessary decision at the time and the situation at United has since changed.

Jesse Lingard stayed when it was expected he would leave, and Cristiano Ronaldo has joined the club and added to competition for places in attack.

All Mata is doing is blocking the pathway for young talent like Hannibal and Shola Shoretire.

Mata will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with clubs from January, but he was last year and chose not to do so.

Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus

It is more likely he is simply sold or allowed to leave on a free. United did not stand in Ashley Young’s way in January 2020 when Inter Milan came calling.

Mata, 33, has served the club well, but his time is up. It should have been in the summer.

It sounds from the latest report as though he has now realised this and is ready to accept it is time to move on. It is unlikely his lack of game time changes substantially between now and January.

Thoughts? Comment Below
Dan is still wondering what would have happened if United had kept Juan Veron...