Manchester United star Juan Mata has admitted he will talk with Erik ten Hag before making a final decision on his future. The Spain international has been widely expected to leave the club on a free transfer this summer. However, his comments now raise the possibility of staying at Old Trafford.
Mata has been a good asset for United over the years, ever since arriving from Chelsea back in the January transfer window of 2014.
He was part of the team that won the FA Cup for Louis van Gaal in 2016, scoring in the 2-1 final victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley.
And Mata was also involved as United claimed the EFL Cup and Europa League trophies under Jose Mourinho, despite previously falling out of favour with the Portuguese during their spell at Stamford Bridge.
There’s long been an expectancy the veteran will leave this summer, having appeared to wave goodbye to fans after United’s recent 3-0 win over Brentford.
But Mata, speaking to The Athletic, has now hinted he could stay by revealing he’s set to hold talks with Ten Hag.
He’s claimed there’s a ‘conversation pending’.
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“He wants to win but in a certain way. I just hope, honestly from inside of me, whether or not I am here with him, he can implement that, can be true to himself, and win trophies with this great club.
“This is a unique club, because of the history, because of what we represent, but also the expectations we have to fulfil.”
Mata has been a peripheral figure at United in recent years.
But that hasn’t stopped him staying, with the 34-year-old signing a one-year extension 12 months ago on reduced wages.
Explaining that decision, Mata said: “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.
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“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.”
Mata also felt United had a chance of winning the Premier League after summer deals for Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I am gonna be very honest, when we made the signings we made I genuinely felt, ‘We are gonna really compete to win the Premier League now,’” he said.
“That’s why I renewed, I wanted to be part of that.
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“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.”
There’s regret, too, with Mata admitting he’s disappointed he’s failed to win the title like David De Gea has.
“He won the Premier League the year before I arrived,” he said.
“The first thing he told me, I remember going through Deansgate, he told me, ‘This club, when you win something like that, is the best feeling in the world.’
“That’s why the disappointment is so big now, because the expectations, at least for myself and I think many other people, were higher.
“We had come second, it felt that we could get there, right? But at the end of the day we didn’t.”