Barcelona linked with summer swoop for Juan Mata

Barcelona have been linked with a potential summer swoop for veteran Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata, who is on course to be a free agent at the end of the season.

Mata will soon celebrate eight years at Old Trafford following a January 2014 transfer from Chelsea, but the 33-year-old has only been called on sparingly over the last 18 months – he has made just three appearances totalling 151 minutes so far this season.

Mata’s career is not over and the Daily Star writes that he is on the radar of cash-strapped Barcelona, having previously been linked with the Catalan giants ahead of this season.

While Mata could potentially be available in January given his lack of prospects at Old Trafford, it is said that Barça would most likely have to wait until summer to sign him because paying a transfer fee is out of the question – the only way it would be possible is if United cancel his contract early.

However, Mata could still at least agree a pre-contract deal with Barça for the summer, which he is eligible to do once he enters the final six months of his contract on 1 January.

It is said that Mata is growing 'increasingly keen' on a move away from United, with the Spaniard keen to reignite his career.

Neither Ralf Rangnick nor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have handed Mata any minutes in the Premier League this season, while one of his three appearances in cup competitions lasted just one solitary minute.

Mata was formerly a teammate of Barcelona coach Xavi at international level, both members of Spain's 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 winning squads. His technical style would be a strong fit for the club’s tiki taka philosophy, while he would also add vast experience to a young squad.

Mata immediately became a fan favourite at United when he joined the club for what was then a club record £37.1m. He has since made 276 appearances and scored over 50 goals, including famous strikes against fierce rivals Liverpool.

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Source : 90min