Juan Mata’s future at Manchester United has been under constant threat since the arrival of Jose Mourinho earlier this summer.
The Spain international barely featured under the Portuguese during his second spell at Chelsea and a similar situation seems likely to unfold at Old Trafford.
A substitute during Mourinho’s first game in charge against Wigan on Saturday, Mata’s unfavoured status under his new boss has alerted several clubs around Europe.
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Following a whirlwind of rumours that the 53-year-old will once again put Mata up for sale, The Mirror reports Spanish outfit Espanyol are among one of the interested parties.
The La Liga side have cash to burn this summer after receiving further investment from Chinese backers last November.
Mata has emerged as one of their top targets if the United playmaker is deemed surplus to requirements under Mourinho despite reports the Spaniard does not want to leave Old Trafford.
The 28-year-old, who was left out of Spain’s Euro 2016 squad, contributed nine goals and five assists during 45 appearances in all competitions under Louis van Gaal last season.
With new signing Henrikh Mkyhitaryan to compete with this campaign, Mata will surely be forced to significantly improve his output if he is to have any hope of convincing Mourinho he is worthy of a place in his United squad.
Mourinho, who has previously criticised the ex-Blues star for his defensive work ethic, sold him to United for £37.5 million in January 2014 and insists there was no bad blood between the pair at Chelsea.
However, given the former Real Madrid boss has said he prefers working with a trimmed squad of 24 players, he could be tempted to follow suit if clubs are willing to offer similar financial compensation in exchange for Mata.
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