Juan Mata is out of contract this summer and thus far, he has been expected to leave but the Spaniard has now confirmed that he will hold talks with Erik ten Hag, the incoming manager at the club.
Mata has featured just six times in the Premier League this season, with two of them being starts – the last two games against Brighton and Brentford.
The former Chelsea star was a key figure under both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho but was marginalised under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which has led to speculation that he could put an end to his eight-year stay at Old Trafford.
Those suggestions have now been put in doubt, however, with the midfield confirming that he’s set for talks with Erik ten Hag, insisting a decision on his future will not be made until then.
Speaking to The Athletic, the 34-year-old admitted he has a ‘conversation pending’ with the Dutchman: “I will see when we speak how we feel, what his ideas are, after that a decision will be made,” he said.
Mata signed a one-year extension to his contract last summer and has opened up on the reasoning behind that decision, insisting personal tragedy and the eagerness to help United were contributing factors.
“First because I love the club, second because I hoped I could give much more on the pitch than I ended up doing, and third because last season was horrible for me, for many reasons, especially because of the passing of my mum,” he said.
“It wasn’t an easy season at all with the pandemic and that personal tragedy. I didn’t want to end my career at Manchester United that way, without fans in the stadium, with all that I have lived over the last months.
“When we made the signings (Sancho, Varane and Ronaldo) we made I genuinely felt, ‘We are gonna really compete to win the Premier League now’. That’s why I renewed, I wanted to be part of that. One of the things I always say: winning a massive trophy with Manchester United would be an incredible feeling after being here for so many years, knowing the fans and everyone working in the club like I do.”
Whether he ends up leaving or not this summer, Mata will go down as one of the club’s most successful signings in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
He was only the second player to be brought in since the legendary manager’s retirement but immediately endeared himself to supporters, a touch which will be long remembered at Old Trafford.
He has not been spoiled with success over his eight years in Manchester and perhaps that remains the motivation behind a potential last dance with Ten Hag at the helm.