Juan Mata is not looking to leave Manchester United in the January transfer window and is happy with his current role in the team, claims Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.
The Spanish playmaker has been continually linked with a move away from Old Trafford since the arrival of Louis van Gaal. That is despite the fact that he only joined from Chelsea in a club record deal last January.
But Mata has played a prominent role for Manchester United so far this season that has seen him play in nine out of 11 Premier League games, scoring three goals including the winner against Crystal Palace.
Player & manager happy
Mata may have convinced Van Gaal to keep him, but it is likely that the Dutchman, who took charge at Old Trafford in the summer, always planned to keep the £37.1 million playmaker in his squad.
Balague confirmed as much on his Twitter, saying: "Abt [sic] Mata: he has no intention to leave @ManUtd. Has been in the line-up in 7/9 games this season. 3rd in shirt sells. He’s happy. So is LvG"
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Van Gaal was ready to oversee a second wave of big signings in the January transfer windows, according to The Mail and Mata was rumoured to be making way as a result.
Atletico Madrid, Roma and Juventus were all interested in Mata, but Manchester United would have had to take a significant hit on the transfer fee. However, getting his £140,000-a-week wages off the books was key for Van Gaal as he looked to recruit the likes of Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Sami Khedira.
The problem was borne out of a formation issue. Mata plays best in a playmaker role behind the striker – also known as the 'number ten' role – but Wayne Rooney, as captain, takes precedent over him.
Although Manchester United are still pretty cash rich, keep a valuable asset like Mata on the bench did not seem economically viable under financial fair play restrictions. However, it appears the rumours were hearsay and Mata looks set to remain a Red Devil for the foreseeable future.