Report: Juan Mata to Wait Before Signing New Manchester United Contract

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 11: Juan Mata of Manchester United acknowledges the fans after the Premier League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Juan Mata will reportedly not sign a new deal with Manchester United before January and could listen to offers from foreign teams in the new year.

According to ESPN (h/t Metro), the Spain international desires an extended stay at Old Trafford, but he will explore which clubs are interested in his services. Mata is out of contract at the end of the campaign and can begin negotiations to leave Manchester this winter.

The 30-year-old remains a versatile talent for coach Jose Mourinho but has seen his playing time decrease over the past 12 months.

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 07: David De Gea of Manchester United celebrates victory with Juan Mata of Manchester United after the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Juventus and Manchester United at Juventus Stadium on November 7, 2018 in Turin, Ita
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Mata has started only five Premier League games this term and has been slowly squeezed out by Mourinho's preference for a more physical style.

The Spaniard remains one of United's most technically gifted individuals, but his lack of pace has seen him used economically from the substitutes bench.

Mata has lost his place in the Spain squad, and extending his international career could be a consideration if he decides to leave the Theatre of Dreams.

The player suffered a fraught period under Mourinho at Chelsea, leading to his sale to United, but the Portuguese has expressed he wants the attacker to stay with the Red Devils.

Dave Thompson/Associated Press

According to James Robson of the London Evening Standard, Mourinho has recommended to United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward he wants Mata and Ander Herrera to be given new deals. Herrera is also out of contract at the end of the season.

United recently noted and celebrated a forthcoming milestone for the player before the match against Crystal Palace on Saturday in the Premier League:

Manchester United @ManUtd

.@JuanMata8 could make his 200th #MUFC appearance on Saturday! What's your favourite Mata memory? 🧙‍♂️ https://t.co/qDItjmANlL

TalkSport's Adrian Durham has stoked rumours on his radio show by saying he's been informed Mata will leave United at the end of the campaign and join Arsenal (h/t Joshua Peck of the Daily Express):

"I thought we were going to do a Juan Mata love-in right. I thought we were doing an appreciation hour for Juan Mata. After I said this, just a couple of minutes ago, just had a message going; 'He's going to Arsenal on a free.'


"He's going to be going to Arsenal on a free! He was with [Unai] Emery on a free wasn't he, so he's going to Arsenal on a free because he is out of contract in the summer. This is breaking news, Juan Mata is going to Arsenal."

Valencia's coach Unai Emery (R) greets Chelsea's Spanish forward Juan Mata during a press conference at the Mestalla Stadium in Valencial on September 27, 2011 on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match between Valencia and  Chelsea. AFP PHOTO
JOSE JORDAN/Getty Images

United would be powerless to stop Mata joining the Gunners ahead of next season if he declines a new contract at Old Trafford, and his prior relationship with Emery at Valencia could tempt him to return to the capital.

However, with Mourinho's long-term tenure in doubt, Mata would be wise to wait before making any decision about his future.

A potential new United boss might be attracted to his talents, and he could regain his starting position in the future.