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26th Apr 2019

Atletico Madrid frontrunners for Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata


The Spanish midfielder’s contract is up this summer

Manchester United’s Juan Mata is set to leave the club this summer on a free transfer with a host of top clubs reportedly interested in the former Spanish international.

Whilst Barcelona have been heavily linked to the 30-year-old, it appears that their La Liga rivals, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, are now leading the race for his signature.

Jose Mourinho sold Mata to United for £37 million back in January 2013 after he had fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge, despite the player having won back-to-back Chelsea Player of the Season awards the two seasons prior.

Since, Mata has made over 200 appearances for the Red Devils, and won the FA Cup, League Cup, Community Shield and Europa League at the club.

He doesn’t, however, appear to be in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s long-term plans, and is most likely to rejoin a club in La Liga in the summer. Indeed his father, who also acts as the player’s agent, hinted last month that a return to the league where he made his name as a Valencia player was most likely.

Spanish newspaper SPORT are reporting that the player is one of Atletico’s key targets for the summer as they also look to replace Lucas Hernandez (sold to Bayern Munich for £69 million) and club captain Diego Godin, who is set to move to Inter Milan in Serie A on a free transfer.

Marc Barta, the former Barcelona and Dortmund centre back who now plays for Real Betis, appears to be the defender they want to bolster their backline.