Five potential destinations for Man Utd’s Mata after Mourinho arrival
Lee Gormley | July 3, 2016
Five potential clubs for Mata
Spanish playmaker Juan Mata has become a fan favourite with Manchester United fans since arriving at Old Trafford from Chelsea in January 2014, having been former Red Devils boss David Moyes’ main signing during a disastrous reign.
The 28-year-old departed Stamford Bridge after falling out with then coach Jose Mourinho, with the Portuguese tactician claiming Mata was reluctant to adapt to his style of play in London, as he became Man Utd’s previous club record capture for £37.1m.
Although, following two-and-a-half seasons in red, Mata’s stay at Old Trafford is under threat after Mourinho arrived on the scene, with reports also suggesting new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic will inherit his number eight jersey.
So, with the talented Spaniard’s future shrouded in doubt, here are five clubs from around Europe that could be potential destinations for the seemingly unwanted attacking midfielder…
Mata, who has earned 40 caps for his country so far in his career, is 4/1 to still be a Man Utd player when the summer transfer window slams shut on Wednesday, August 31st, but it’s Merseyside club Everton that are leading the race for his signature.
The Toffees recently appointed former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman as their new boss at Goodison Park and the Dutchman has been handed plenty of funds to splash out this summer, having already snapped up Maarten Stekelenburg and is reportedly closing in on Axel Witsel.
Everton are the odds-on 4/9 favourites to land Mata in this transfer window, with the Merseyside outfit set to offer Man Utd £21m for his services – a move which would represent a genuine coup for Koeman and co.
The Red Devils midfield creator would bring a great deal of freshness to the Everton attack, with Ross Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and Aaron Lennon having struggled somewhat in the past term under former boss Roberto Martinez.
Although, either of those three could be in danger of losing their places, while it could also spell the end for Belgian forward Kevin Mirallas ahead of the 2016/17 top-flight campaign.
Mata spent four seasons in his homeland with Valencia between 2007 and 2011, helping Los Che earn a Copa del Rey victory in 2008, before leaving for Chelsea and eventually joining the Red Devils.
With his future shrouded in doubt this summer, a sensational return to the Mestalla could yet be on the cards, after the Bats have suffered a troublesome season in La Liga. Outgoing England assistant coach Gary Neville saw his time as Valencia boss come to an early end this year, as they ended the campaign in an underwhelming 12th position.
Mata’s possible return to Valencia, which is 16/1 to occur this summer, would undoubtedly boost morale among supporters and bolster Los Che’s attacking ranks for next term, when they will attempt to return to a the more promising heights of the Spanish top-flight table.
Andre Gomes has long been tipped for a move away from the club, while Sofiane Feghouli recently joined West Ham United, and Mata could yet bring back further attacking prowess to help out star man Paco Alcacer.
Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund are 14/1 to land Mata in the coming weeks, a signing which would see the Spaniard fill the void left by recently departed attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan and swap places with the newest Old Trafford recruit.
The 27-year-old will become the first-ever Armenian to play Premier League football and, with the dynamic forward set to go straight into Mourinho’s side, the places are limited, leaving the door open for Mata to make the opposite move to Germany.
Business has been rife between the two clubs in recent years, with Mkhitaryan being the latest to move from Dortmund to Man Utd after Shinji Kagawa did so in 2014, and ultimately returning to the Westfalenstadion.
Belgian youngster Adnan Januzaj earlier had a loan spell with Dortmund too, so could Mata be the next player to trade red for black and yellow this year?
Another Spanish side set to be on the lookout for new recruits is Sevilla, with the Europa League champions now in need of rejuvenating following high-profile exits from the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
The Bathtubs made history by clinching a third successive European crown in the campaign gone by, but they are now in need of a boost after star midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak joined French champions PSG, with his Poland performances at Euro 2016 catching the eye, and previous boss Unai Emery joining him in Paris.
Fans are in need of a marquee signing to bolster morale and Mata fits the bill perfectly, boasting plenty of experience in both La Liga and Europe, and he is 14/1 to return to Spain with Sevilla this summer.
Such a switch offers a lot to both parties, with Champions League football on offer at Sevilla for Man Utd’s out-of-favour playmaker, while the Red Devils will have to settle for the Europa League next term.
AC Milan have endured a harrowing decline in recent seasons, dropping well out of European place contention and seeing any Serie A title success go well beyond their grasp, as well as a revolving door policy on managers.
Having already tested himself in both Spain and England, Mata may see Italy as his next stomping ground, and Serie A is a division which could arguably suit his technical abilities and decisive forward.
The Rossoneri have plenty of stuttering forwards currently in their ranks, including the likes of Keisuke Honda, Jeremy Menez and Luiz Adriano, but they are 18/1 to secure Mata’s acquisition and add some much-needed creative quality to their squad.
Mata’s quality in unlocking defences would massively boost Milan’s forward threat and Brazilian frontman Carlos Bacca would surely relish having such an astute playmaker in behind him, as the former Sevilla striker looks to become a new goalscoring hero at the San Siro.