Barcelona are targeting a move for Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata when their transfer ban expires in 2016.
Mata has blown hot and cold at Old Trafford since his arrival just over a year ago and struggled to get in the team on a regular basis under Louis van Gaal as his new boss preferred Wayne Rooney, Angel Di Maria and Ander Herrera at the start of the season.
Injuries to Herrera and Rooney’s move into midfield gave Mata a prolonged run in the side and he began to shine over Christmas but he has since struggled to get back in the team in recent weeks.
Whilst he may not have hit the kind of form he showed at Chelsea, the 26-year-old already has 11 league goals for United, six of them in his first few months at the club under David Moyes.
And Spanish media outlet Mundo Deportivo believe Mata is a prime target for Luis Enrique and the club wanted to bring him to the Nou Camp in 2010 when he left Valencia and were also interested when he left Chelsea for United last January. It’s also their front page splash today in the print edition.
Mata is a popular player at Old Trafford among supporters and when he is on form is undoubtedly one of United’s key men. But all too often Mata has been found wanting in away games and if Louis van Gaal is to continue to revolutionise his squad in the summer, Mata may be one who leaves.
With United struggling for pace in attack, it wouldn’t be a surprise for van Gaal to firmly select Angel Di Maria or Wayne Rooney in Mata’s position come next season.