Manchester United midfield Juan Mata has emerged as a shock target for Arsenal, according to reports.
The 30-year-old has made over 200 appearances for the Red Devils since moving from Chelsea in 2014 but is now entering the last six months of his contract at Old Trafford.
Could Juan Mata move to Arsenal? Five key things to know…
- After a trophy-laden spell with Chelsea, Juan Mata moved to Man United in 2014.
- Mata has scored 44 goals in 208 games for the Red Devils to date, winning three major honours with the club.
- The Spaniard’s contract is up at the end of the season, however, and Arsenal, Juve, PSG and Barcelona are all reportedly eyeing up a move.
- Arsenal boss, Unai Emery, has stated the club has an extremely low budget in the current window, meaning a free transfer for Mata is more appealing.
- Mata played under Emery between 2008 and 2011 during his time with Valencia.
Emery, meanwhile, is desperate to add some more creativity to his Arsenal side to supply the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with more chances.
The two teams clash on Friday night in the FA Cup and ahead of the game, the Mirror have suggested that Arsenal, as well as the likes of PSG, Juventus and Barcelona, are eyeing up a move for Mata, with the free transfer appealing to a lack of finances for the Gunners.
Mata, who played under Emery during his time with Valencia, has scored five goals in 22 appearances for Man United this season.
Mata ‘calm’ despite contract uncertainty
In typical Juan Mata style, the Spaniard is remaining calm about his future, even if reports claim he has a host of European heavyweights lining up for his signature.
Speaking prior to the Red Devils’ 1-0 win away to Tottenham earlier this month, Mata said he is ‘happy at one of the biggest clubs in the world’ but didn’t shut the door on a return to his native Spain.
“I’ve been in England for a while, but it’s true that at times you miss home, your family, your friends,” he said.
“But I don’t know if I’ll return to Spain in the near future. I’m calm, I’m at the fantastic club that is Manchester United, one of the biggest in the world.”
The 41-time Spain international went on to praise the effect caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has had on the Man United side, insisting he and his teammates are focusing on Champions League qualification for next season.
“We are focused on finishing the season as well as possible and reaching our goal of a place in the Champions League,” he added.
“We would like to have other objectives but that is the reality. A coach came in who is a club legend and has give us confidence.
“I am sure there will be difficult times between now and the end of the season but we will give our all.”
Man United have won all seven games under Solskjaer and have moved level with Arsenal on 44 points in the Premier League.
However, attention turns to the FA Cup when the two sides lock horns at the Emirates on Friday night.