Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is being linked with a surprise return to former club Valencia this summer, as the Spanish giants prepare to make a £20 million bid for the playmaker's signature.
According to the Daily Mirror, Los Che owner Peter Lim and president Amadeo Salvo flew to England last weekend to open preliminarily talks about a prospective move back to the Mestalla after making it their mission to re-sign the 26-year-old in the next transfer window.
Mata's reputation has taken a nosedive since moving to Old Trafford in January 2014. The Spain international joined the Red Devils from Chelsea in a mouthwatering £37 million deal, but has been used sparingly under the new tutelage of Louis van Gaal this term.
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The Spaniard was named the Blues Player of the Year in each of his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge, the club he joined from Valencia in a £23.5 million deal in the summer of 2011.
Mata signed a five-year deal with Chelsea but was marginalised following Jose Mourinho's return to west London, and ended up leaving in the mid-season window last term, linking up with David Moyes at the Theatre of Dreams.
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After an impressive start to his Manchester United career Mata has failed to reproduce his best form in 2014/15, struggling to hold down a regular place in the line-up following the high-profile arrival of Angel di Maria last summer.
He started his first Premier League game for two months in Sunday's 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, impressing in a wide-role before coming off to a standing ovation midway through the second half.
However, that hasn't deterred Valencia from trying to negotiate a deal for their former star, who has grown increasingly frustrated by his lack of regular action in England's top-flight.
If Manchester United accept the proposed offer on the table then they'll make a £17 million loss on a player that was previously heralded as one of the most exciting attacking talents in the Premier League.
Mata's cut-price departure would reflect how far his stock has fallen over the past couple of years, and the prospect of returning to his homeland with the offer of a lucrative four-year deal might prove very tempting.
Manchester United fans: Does Juan Mata still have a future at Old Trafford? Is £20 million enough money for Louis van Gaal to agree to sell? Share your thoughts below...
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