Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata could be heading back to his former club in January… Valencia. Following his $65 million move from Chelsea last January, Mata has been on the outside looking in at Old Trafford since Louis van Gaal arrived as manager.
According to the Daily Star, La Liga side Valencia are said to be interested in initially taking Mata, 26, back on loan with a view to a permanent move. Mata scored in United’s 4-0 demolition of QPR in September but Wayne Rooney has been preferred in the No. 10 role for the Red Devils and Mata has been benched. Will he make an impact for United between now and January or will his time in Manchester be over after less then a year?
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers could bolster his forward line in January, with Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain at the top of the list. According to reports, Liverpool are willing to splash $50 million on the Argentine international. With both Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert struggling to settle in at Anfield and Daniel Sturridge’s injury problems, a move for a new striker is badly needed. Higuain is desperate to return to a UEFA Champions League team as Napoli’s struggles continue in Serie A this season.
Another player could be heading out of Manchester United as Ashley Young has been linked with a move to Southampton, Aston Villa or Sunderland by the Daily Express. Young, 29, initially shone under van Gaal as a wing-back but has found himself way down the pecking order since the arrival of Luke Shaw, Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria. Young heading back to Villa could be a long-shot as he’s not popular with fans of his old team following the way he left Villa Park in 2011. Able to play on either wing, his wages would be the big stumbling block for any of the three interested teams.
With Liverpool reportedly in for Higuain, the Reds could also move for Marseille forward Andre-Pierre Gignac… but face stiff competition from Arsenal. Gignac, 28, has scored 40 goals in 84 appearances for the Ligue 1 side over the past two seasons and according to the London Evening Standard, both PL teams could make a move for him in January to give them extra depth up top. Gignac has been capped 16 times by France and appeared in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but further chances to play for Les Bleus under Didier Deschamps have failed to materialize. Maybe a move to the Premier League will kick start things?