Juan Mata could be sold in January

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Louis van Gaal is considering selling Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata in the January transfer window with Atletico Madrid keen on the attacking midfielder.

According to the Daily Star, the 26-year-old midfielder has attracted the interest of Atleti boss Diego Simeone, who is looking to strengthen his squad in the January window.

He has money to spend after his squad was raided in the summer, with Mata's former club Chelsea responsible for signing top scorer Diego Costa and full-back Filipe Luis.

Mata only moved to Manchester United in January, signing from Stamford Bridge for a then-club record £37m (€47m).

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Falcao's arrival

Competition for places

But Van Gaal splashed out when he arrived as David Moyes' replacement in the summer, bringing in Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid for a British record fee and Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao.

With Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Radamel Falcao and Di Maria competing with Mata for places in the starting lineup, United's squad has a lop-sided look about it.

The attacking positions are stacked with talent, and van Gaal has incredible options to choose from. But defensively Manchester United have been struggling, as key departures and injuries to important contributors have hurt van Gaal's chances.

Problems in defence

He's been forced to field the likes of Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett in defence, and while Marcos Rojo was a welcome addition, several more are needed to replace club icons like Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.

That means van Gaal could be willing to sacrifice one or two of his attacking players to recoup cash to spend on defensive reinforcements. There would be no shortage of suitors for Mata, with his former club Valencia also keen admirers.

Mata recently admitted that he keeps up to date with how Valencia are doing in La Liga.

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Manchester United
Juan Mata
Premier League

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