Real Sociedad are exploring the possibility of signing Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata on a free transfer in the summer, Spanish publication AS (today’s edition, page 19) reports.
The 33-year-old was fancied to leave the Red Devils on a Bosman deal last summer, but the club ended up triggering the 12-month extension clause on his £160,000-per-week contract.
The decision was a big surprise, given he had been a fringe player. His situation has stayed the same this term, with just 151 minutes in three appearances and none in the Premier League.
It is now reported that Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay recently met with Mata’s father and agent Juan Mata Sr. The prospect of signing the Spaniard for free was discussed.
Mata joined the Red Devils from Chelsea seven years ago. He has dropped down the pecking order in recent years but has still registered 51 goals and 47 assists from 276 appearances.
The club had the chance to release him last summer, but the hierarchy valued his experience off the field. It appears likely that he will run down his contract with the club.
A mutual termination of his contract seems unlikely this month. Interested clubs including Sociedad are prepared to discuss a pre-contract agreement over negotiating a transfer fee.
A loan deal could be an option, but his wages could be a major stumbling block if United don’t contribute significantly. David Silva is the highest earner at Sociedad at just £88,000-per-week.
Mata could ideally wait until the summer to pick his next club. He would need to accept a massive pay-cut to return to La Liga after 12 years in the English top-flight.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com.
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