Real Madrid could be in line for a shock move for Juan Mata, according to reports.
The Spaniard is in the final year of his contract at Old Trafford and if this season’s record is anything to go by, his deal will not be renewed.
Mata, 29, was left out of the entire United 18-man squad for the 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
And, according to the Express, the diminutive playmaker could return to the club where he started his career, before moving on to Valencia, then Chelsea and the United.
Frustratingly for Mata, he has never won a Premier League winner’s medal as he joined the Red Devils the season after they last won the title.
And he may be reluctant to move on from the club where he has become a firm favourite with the fans, acting with the class and dignity sometimes found lacking in Premier League footballers.
But Mata cannot stay a regular first-team star at United, either subbed on or subbed off in all of his appearances this term.
He was most humiliated against Huddersfield when Jose Mourinho hauled him off for his part in the Terriers’ opening goal, while United went on to lose 2-1.
Real Madrid are currently eight points behind Barcelona in La Liga and face a fight to regain the Champions League after losing 3-1 to Tottenham in the group stages.
If he cannot get into the Old Trafford first team though, many would question how Mata would get regular football at the Berbabeu, given Real’s pedigree in his area of the pitch.
Zinedine Zidane’s side did get back to winning ways over the weekend as they drubbed Las Plamas 3-0 at home, with Marco Asensio blasting in a screamer from 30 yards.