Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is prepared to accept a £17.1 million loss on Spanish playmaker Juan Mata, who was brought to Old Trafford by David Moyes last winter, when the transfer window re-opens in January.
The Express cite reports in Spain as claiming that United will accept offers in the region of £20 million for Mata, who has played a peripheral role at Old Trafford under Van Gaal so far this season.
The Spain international scored the winning goal against Crystal Palace last Saturday, after coming on as a second-half substitute, but has still failed to convince Van Gaal that he deserves a place in the Red Devils’ starting line-up.
Mata facing Chelsea pain again
Mata has completed just three 90-minute matches for the 20-time English champions this season and will be allowed to leave Old Trafford for almost the half the price Manchester United originally paid for him 10 months ago.
The 26-year-old is currently going through a similar predicament to the one he faced at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, who allowed the player to join Manchester United last January in a deal worth £37.1 million.
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Mourinho and Van Gaal not convinced by Mata
Despite winning Chelsea’s Player of the Year award in back-to-back seasons, Mourinho was not convinced Mata possessed the physicality, mentality or stamina to flourish in his system.
The revered Portuguese coach subsequently omitted him from most of his squads in the first half of the 2013-14 campaign, much to the bemusement of the Blues’ faithful, before selling him to the Red Devils.
Mata has struggled to reproduce his best form at Old Trafford, despite weighing in with an impressive number of goals and assists. In 24 appearances for United, the former Valencia star has scored nine goals.
This is one of the reasons why there will be no shortage of potential suitors for the services of Mata, who is reportedly wanted by Valencia and La Liga champions Atletico Madrid amongst several top clubs.
Mata will be determined to stay at Old Trafford and prove his worth, but that will be easier said than done. Van Gaal has made it crystal clear that United captain Wayne Rooney is his first-choice playmaker - and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.
And with Mata only capable of playing in that No. 10 position, it’s likely that he will need to leave Old Trafford in January in order to resurrect his career.