Spanish sports daily AS are reporting that Manchester United star Juan Mata could be on his way to Catalonia, not even a year after signing from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
Mata was signed by Manchester United in the winter transfer window from the London club for a record fee of £37.1 million. He has scored six goals and provided six assists since his big money move to Old Trafford.
Barcelona are reportedly looking to bring in the former Valencia man to Camp Nou to replace the ageing Xavi as well as provide security to one of the midfield spots, with the future of Cesc Fabregas also in doubt.
Barcelona have also been linked with another former Valencia player in the shape of David Silva. The Manchester City playmaker has been outstanding since signing for City in 2010 but his status in the Premier League champions’ squad as well as with the fans makes him a rather more difficult target for Barça .
Contrast that with Mata, who despite having won the league’s player of the season twice in his first two season’s at Chelsea, is unlikely to be a part of Louis van Gaal’s plans next season.
Mata’s apparent lack of understanding and willingness to contribute to the defensive side of the game for his team was seen as a big reason for his departure from Stamford Bridge, with Jose Mourinho preferring the industry of Oscar over the Spaniard.
The rumors of van Gaal’s willingness to allow Mata to leave should be of little surprise; it was after all the Dutchman who left one of the great enganches of our time, Juan Roman Riquelme, on the peripheries during his second spell in charge of Barcelona, calling it a “political signing” after the Argentine had dazzled against Real Madrid’s galacticos in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2000.