Manchester United is expected to experience some large turnover this summer, but at least one veteran will be staying into the future.
Man United confirmed the news that Juan Mata has signed a new two-year contract with the club. The deal also includes an option for a third year, though it’s unclear whether it’s a club or player option. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed, though the Guardian reported on Tuesday that Mata’s previous contract paid the Spanish midfielder around $9.2 million per season.
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“It is a real honor to continue to represent this amazing club and our incredible fans. I have been at Manchester United for five years and I am proud to call Old Trafford my home,” Mata said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and his fantastic coaching staff; the vision that they have for the club is truly exciting and I am so happy that I will be a part of that.”
Like teammates Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia, Mata’s contract was coming to an end this summer. However, unlike the former two players, Mata has agreed to stay, though it’s likely on a much smaller contract considering his diminishing appearances the last few seasons.
Mata made just 22 starts this past season for Man United, the lowest in his career since moving to England from Valencia. He also finished with just six goals in 42 games, one of his lowest outputs in years. Now 31-years old, Mata is likely being kept around to be a father figure of sorts for the young and transitioning Man United squad, as well as providing some midfield guile as either a No. 10 or a passing No. 6 that can start the attacking moves from deep.
“Juan is the ultimate professional and one of the most intelligent players I have worked with,” Man United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in a statement. “He is a great example to our younger players in his approach. He understands what it means to be a Manchester United player and has embraced everything about this great club.
“As well as everything he brings on the pitch, we have some fantastic young players here and I know that Juan’s vast experience will help them to reach their potential over the coming seasons. I am delighted that he has signed a new contract, as I know that his talent and mentality will be invaluable to the squad.”
The former Chelsea midfielder joined Man United in a mid-season transfer in January 2014, reportedly worth more than $47 million.