Juan Mata must be one of the Manchester United players who endure more criticism out of fans and media alike.
Often mentioned as a player who “doesn’t appear in big games”, some experts want Mata gone from Old Trafford. But the Spanish playmaker apparently has other plans. In an interview with ESPN FC, Mata confirmed he would like to extend his stay at Manchester United. In fact, he has not ruled out playing until he is 40 years old. To put things into perspective, Mata is 29 and will turn 30 towards the end of the current season.
“Why not? I’m 29 and hopefully I can play football for some more years. It would be great to play until I’m 40 like Ryan Giggs. But that’s still a bit far, still 11 years,” he told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview. “I’m happy here. The club is massive, the support we have is massive. I’ve been settled down in the city since year one. Now it’s my fourth year in Manchester. You never know what can happen in football and in life. But my feeling now is that I’m happy here and I wouldn’t have any problem continuing here for more time.”
What is Mata’s Current Contract Situation?
The Spain international’s current contract expires next summer, although United hold an option to keep him at the club until 2019. The Red Devils are keen to exercise that option since Mata offers positional versatility and decent alternatives in the final third. He can play all over the final third, although he has been used mostly as a right winger during the current term. His natural role is the one of a n° 10, though. And who knows? maybe he will get the chance to feature on that position sooner than later. Especially due to Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s inconsistencies of late.
On the other hand, Mata said he would like to remain at Old Trafford. And when asked whether he would like to sign a new long-term deal and finish his career at the club, the midfielder insists he is open to all possibilities. Mata moved to Old Trafford from Chelsea for a then club-record fee of £37.1 million in January 2014. He has made 159 appearances, scoring 37 goals, and won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League. That’s certainly a successful career at Old Trafford, but Mata is not done yet.
The most important thing is that he seems to have a future within Mourinho’s squad, at least for the next few years. And with that in mind, United should take advantage and keep him on the squad as long as possible. Players like Mata, who has the ability to takeover a game and change things with one or two touches, don’t grow on trees. And United must do everything they can to extend him as soon as possible.
Both parties want to get the deal done sooner than later, so we could have an official announcement quite soon.