Man Utd: Juan Mata is too good to be a bit part player says Hislop
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Manchester United star Juan Mata is wanted by three clubs in La Liga, according to reports. The veteran made his last appearance at Old Trafford on Monday night, shining as his side beat Brentford 3-1. And it seems like a new challenge is on the horizon for the 34-year-old.
Mata has been a good stalwart for United since arriving from Chelsea back in the January transfer window of 2014, when David Moyes was manager.
And he said his goodbyes to supporters on Monday night after a slick and stylish performance against Brentford.
Now, Catalan newspaper Sport say Mata has three options on the table as his time with United comes to an end.
Valencia are interested in re-signing the player, who previously spent four years at the Mestalla.
Mata propelled them to Copa del Rey glory in that time, claiming the trophy in 2008.
And he was a huge hit at the club prior to joining Chelsea in 2011, when Andre Villas-Boas was manager.
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Real Sociedad are another team lurking, too.
They’ve previously raided the Premier League for players such as Adnan Januzaj and David Silva in recent years, with the pair both making positive impacts at the Reale Arena.
And Real Betis are also targeting the veteran as well as they look to build on their recent Copa del Rey success.
Mata, it seems, won’t be short on offers when he leaves United.
And it’ll be interesting to see what happens when his contract expires, with some reports previously suggesting the Red Devils wanted him to join their coaching staff.
Mata has been one of the rare successes at United in the years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
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After joining from Chelsea in 2014, he fired them to FA Cup glory two years later – netting in the 2-1 final victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley.
And Mata was also vital as United won the Carabao Cup and Europa League under Jose Mourinho.
Luke Chadwick, meanwhile, has hailed Mata after his fine performance against Brentford on Monday night.
Speaking to CaughtOffside, he said: “It was a much-improved performance, certainly in possession.
“United kept the ball well for large spells, put together some nice passages of play.
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“I thought Juan Mata starting made a massive difference. The way he plays, he keeps the ball ticking, and gets into clever areas.
“Overall there was a lot more intent, more structure. Brentford had their moments, particularly with Christian Eriksen spreading the ball around, but I felt United were on top for the majority of the game.
“It was good to see at the last game of the season at Old Trafford, it was a much better performance and left us with something to feel more positive about ahead of next season.”
And he added: “Mata’s been a great servant to the club, but he came in at a difficult time.
“He joined under David Moyes, not long after Marouane Fellaini, which kind of summed up that the club didn’t really know what direction they were going in at that time.
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“They were two very different players, suited for vastly contrasted styles of play.
“Obviously he’s a fantastically gifted player, but he’s never quite found a role in the team.
“I think he’s a great character to have around, he seems hugely popular with his team-mates and the fans.
“Still, he’s maybe not hit the heights we would’ve expected after seeing him at Chelsea. He had a great reputation at Valencia too, and obviously he’s done it for Spain as well.
“He’s kind of in the mould of David Silva, even if he never quite hit those heights.
“He can hold his head high, he just wasn’t really at the club at the right time.”
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