Having started his Manchester United career brightly, the Spaniard has struggled for game time in the last few seasons.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said that discussions with Juan Mata over the midfielder’s future at Old Trafford are ongoing. Mata, who signed from Chelsea in January 2014, will be out of contract this summer. The club does have the option to extend the Spaniard’s deal for a further year. Having started his career at Old Trafford brightly, the 33-year-old has struggled for game time over the last few seasons. With in-form Bruno Fernandes occupying his position at the club and Donny van de Beek ahead of him in the pecking order, Mata has fallen further down the list.
Having begun the season strongly, Mata has found his chances limited, making only 16 appearances across all competitions. Ole said that it is now up to Mata to make a decision regarding his future. “I’ve kept the dialogue with Juan and we’re due to speak again very soon,” Solskjaer said in his pre-match press conference, ahead of Fulham’s visit to Old Trafford on Tuesday. “Of course, he’s not played as much as he’d like and that’s a decision that we’ll make with him.”
“He’s in charge of his own future and he’s been such a good servant for the club,” Ole added. “But of course, it’s hard, as I’ve said so many times, to leave good players out, good people out of the team. It’s about what does he want as his next step in his career? Is it [to] still play out his career here, or is it going somewhere else? We haven’t made a final decision yet.”
About 10,000 fans will be back at Old Trafford for the match against Fulham on Tuesday and Solskjaer is “very much” looking forward to seeing them again. Just before the matches were halted last year owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Manchester United defeated derby rivals Manchester City 2-0 at Old Trafford in front of the cheering fans.
“The last time we had them in was a fantastic night [against Manchester City in March 2020] and ever since then it’s been something that we’ve been crying out for. Hopefully we can enjoy the night together,” he added. “It’s been too long, but of course that’s the world we’ve been living in and, now it’s safe to do so, it’s going to be a good moment.”