Reports in Italy claim Juventus have been told they can take Juan Mata from Manchester United for £24million during the winter window.
The Spanish international only joined the Old Trafford club last January for £37million, but he has been a victim of circumstances in Manchester. Not only has he linked up with a United side deep in transition, but he has also been played in a number of positions as firstly David Moyes, and now Louis van Gaal, explore various team formations.
Despite this, Mata has actually performed as well as can perhaps be expected. The former Chelsea midfielder has scored eight goals in 35 appearances in all competitions, and has also assisted in eight more during this time. But as van Gaal looks at what his strongest XI could be, it appears as though the 26-year-old could be the odd-man-out.
For example, under the current 3-5-2 formation, Mata’s favoured number 10 role would likely be handed to club captain Wayne Rooney, who would play just behind the assumed front two of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao. Or if the England international was pushed in a more advanced position, Angel di Maria would be an option for the playmaker role.
This could mean Mata becomes available as van Gaal continues to trim his squad, an exercise which has already seen the departures of regular first team squad members such as Danny Welbeck, Nani, Javier Hernandez, Tom Cleverley and Shinji Kagawa depart. And according to reports in Italy, he could be up for grabs at a reduced fee of £24million.
This is the price Tuttosport claim United have quoted Juventus for the signature of Mata, with such a price within the budget of the Serie A champions. And another bonus for Massimiliano Allegri is that the Spain international is also eligible for the UEFA Champions League, after United finished a lowly seventh place in the Premier League last term.
Given the circumstances of the 12 months he has spent at United, surely Mata should be given more time at the club? Let us know your thoughts by joining the discussion below.