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.
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.
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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