Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with an ambitious move for Juan Mata, who has recently began to stamp his class on Manchester United’s XI.
The Spanish midfielder joined the Reds from Chelsea in a then-club record £37.1million transfer in January 2014, as David Moyes looked to add more spark into the flagging champions. But despite some promising moments, the 26-year-old was unable to inspire the Old Trafford side, who slumped to their lowest league finish since the inception of the Premier League in 1992.
Earlier this campaign it looked as though Mata may be on borrowed time in the red half of Manchester, as Louis van Gaal struggled to find a place for him in his starting XI. But injuries to Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao prompted the Dutchman to play Wayne Rooney as his main striker, in turn giving the former Valencia man a place on the right-hand side of a 4-3-3 formation.
Mata was in fine form as United finally clicked into gear with a 3-0 win over Tottenham, and he was even better the following week when he netted both goals in the crucial 2-1 triumph at Liverpool. And he again contributed last weekend, when he created the final goal of a 3-1 home win over Aston Villa which has resulted in the Reds ending the game-week in third position.
Although it now seems as though the playmaker has found his place in the United side, reports in Spain claim he still faces an uncertain future in the long-term plans of van Gaal. It has been suggested that Mauricio Pochettino, the Spurs head coach, is keen to lure him back to the capital, and will test the resolve of their Premier League rivals with an offer of £18.1million this summer.
It would be a surprise if United were to agree to the sale of Mata, who was regarded as one of the best players in England during his time at Chelsea before falling out of favour under Jose Mourinho, particularly at less than half of the outlay they paid to sign him. Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, are also said to be keen on a player who has 34 international caps for his country.