Juan Mata is set to stay at Manchester United this season, according to Sky Sports’ sources.
Mata’s future at the club has been up in the air ever since the appointment of Jose Mourinho as the new manager. According to Mata, the pair had ‘no relationship’ at Chelsea, and United fans have been hoping things would change for the better between them.
However, after Mourinho decided to publicly embarrass the Spaniard by sending him on with 27 minutes left in the Community Shield game against Leicester City, and then taking him off in stoppage time, many saw it as a sign that Mata’s days at Old Trafford are numbered.
Mourinho claimed Mata was ‘very angry’ after being taken off, but that he understood the tactical decision.
Mata signed for United in a £37.5 million deal from Chelsea when Mourinho was the manager at Stamford Bridge. He made it clear at the start of the season that he was determined to stay at Old Trafford, and fight for his place. Despite the Community Shield incident, however, he is reportedly sticking to his original stance.
The 28-year-old’s place in the side could be under threat after the arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Mourinho made it clear that he wants to play Rooney as his No. 10, and that will mean Mkhitaryan will play as a winger, leaving Mata with no idea as to where he would fit in.
However, Mourinho said Mata is a part of his plans, and he does have a role to play at the club. United are in the Europa League, and with their involvement in other competitions such as the League Cup and the FA Cup as well, the Spaniard may have quite a lot of games to play than initially expected. He will be determined to prove his worth to United and to Mourinho, by forcing his way into the first team squad.
Mata was superb in United’s farcical pre-season tour of Asia, and should he carry that form into the upcoming season, he may have a major role to play under Mourinho.