Juan Mata

Official: Mata signs new two-year contract with option at Man United

Leave a comment

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.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

“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.

Reports: Mata agrees to stay with Manchester United

Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United and Juan Mata are going to stay an item.

The 31-year-old has reportedly found common ground with United just days before his contract expired at Old Trafford, having been linked with Barcelona and Newcastle United should he have reached free agent status.

[ MORE: Latest on Rodri, Man City ]

Mata, 31, may be a key piece for a United team which is set for massive turnover this season, and had six goals and four assists in just under 1800 minutes last season.

He’s an extremely consistent player, scoring 50 Premier League goals with 60 assists between the Blues and Red Devils. He’s won the FA Cup and Europa League with both clubs, winning the Champions League with Chelsea and the League Cup with United.

Mata also has a Copa del Rey from his time with Valencia, and is a World Cup and EURO winner with Spain.

At least this way, Mata can be almost completely sure he won’t face a third stint under Jose Mourinho. Mata was sold by Chelsea after Mourinho lost interest in the midfielder, only to see United hire the Portuguese manager.

Herrera, Valencia, Welbeck all released, Mata offered extension

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the end of the season comes the expiration of contracts, and as Premier League teams begin the offseason and the end of June nears, more and more clubs are working to pin down their rosters and make room for imminent transfer arrivals.

Manchester United announced the release of 15 players on Friday, including captain Antonio Valencia and midfielder Ander Herrera, while Arsenal confirmed the departure of striker Danny Welbeck.

The Red Devils have cleaned house, although most of the departures are youth players who never made an impact on the first team squad. The most notable names are Valencia and Herrera, with the former ending a 10-year career at Old Trafford that saw the Ecuadorian international rack up 339 appearances and score 25 goals while assisting 62 more. Valencia hoisted two Premier League championship trophies and won domestic cup competitions three times, also winning the Europa League once.

At 33 years old, Valencia made just six Premier League appearances for the club this past season, and his time at Old Trafford was clearly coming to an end. It will be interesting to see where Valencia lands should he decide to continue playing.

Herrera, meanwhile, is leaving Manchester United still in the prime of his career. At 29 years old, Herrera made 28 appearances last season and was an integral part of the Red Devils midfield. Still, with his contract expiring and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer leaving Herrera out of the squad a number of times down the stretch, the Red Devils decided not to extend the Spaniard and he moves on from the club after five years at Old Trafford.

Juan Mata was not on the released list despite his contract ending this summer, instead appearing on the retained list, and reports in England indicate that he has been offered a new contract which the club is hopeful he will sign. At 31 years old, Mata has been with the Red Devils since joining from Chelsea in 2014, and while he was not a regular starter for the club this season, he is still an important squad player racking up over 1,700 minutes across all competitions.

Welbeck sees a five-year Arsenal career come to a close as he departs the Emirates on the expiration of his contract. The 28-year-old England international made 126 appearances for the Gunners but was hampered by consistent injury problems, with his knee, ankle, hip, and groin all troubling him at some stage or another. He began this season as a consistent option off the bench for Unai Emery but suffered a broken ankle in early November and never returned to action. Still in the prime of his career, Welbeck could be an important free transfer for a club that is willing to take the risk brought on by his injury history, and if he can find some luck and stay healthy, he could still have an impact wherever he should land.

Solskjaer, Mata come to De Gea’s defense after costly error

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even after David de Gea’s costly mistake robbed Manchester United of a pair of sorely needed points in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea, the Spanish net-minder remains comfortably in the black over his last few seasons, at least in the minds of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and midfielder Juan Mata.

[ MORE: Three things learned: Man United v. Chelsea ]

If anyone has earned himself a bit of leeway should he turn in a bad performance, or three, it’s De Gea. As recently as last season, it was De Gea who, at times singlehandedly, kept Man United in games and willed them to positive results in the face of the atrocious defending taking place in front of him. Mata hasn’t forgotten that — quotes from the BBC:

You know David is unquestionable for me. His level has been fantastic for this club, he has been the best player over the last years and the points he has saved us have been incredible.

“The important thing is how he reacts, I have 100 percent confidence in him and we all have, today he is obviously not happy, we are not happy, but we will return to training with the right attitude. For me his level is unquestionable.

“He knows I’m here for him and what I can do is give him an honest consideration of situation, he is disappointed over his situation but he is one of best in the world. Everyone makes mistakes but he’s strong mentally and he will save many goals in the next games. He has been the best for us and he had the team’s full confidence.”

Three points would have seen United leapfrog Arsenal for fifth and draw level with the Blues for fourth, though they would have remained behind on goal differential.

Still, Solskjaer knows the level at which De Gea has performed for the last half-decade or so, so the idea of dropping him over Sunday’s mistake warranted a very short, direct answer after the game — quotes from the BBC:

“No. David has been a fantastic keeper at this club, his reaction after City was good and I was confident in him. He knows he could do better with their goal but it’s one of those things again.”

“Every single player has good and not so good moments. He’s one of the best and obviously he’s disappointed with their goal. He has been the best player for this club, he has my full support and the club’s full support and everyone who loves the club should give him their support. We must be with him, he has our full confidence, he’s my friend and one of best goalkeepers in the world.”

Sloppy Man Utd rides Pogba penalties past West Ham (video)

Leave a comment
  • Pogba converts two penalties
  • Anderson scores for WHUFC
  • United fifth with 64 points

Paul Pogba converted a pair of penalties as Manchester United doubled up West Ham United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Felipe Anderson scored West Ham’s goal, as the Irons remain 11th.

United is now fifth, two points back of Chelsea and three behind Spurs.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Irons had an early goal pulled back for an infraction, and Manchester United soon helped move a wide-open game forward.

Juan Mata won a penalty atop the 18 when his attempted first touch of an Anthony Martial lay-off was clattered into by Robert Snodgrass. Pogba didn’t need a tip-toe run-up here, blasting a shot past Lukasz Fabianski.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

But wait. West Ham went level in the 49th minute through Anderson, who was on the business end of an awful distribution move from David De Gea.

The keeper collected a low drive from Pablo Zabaleta a few minutes later.

Marcus Rashford subbed into the game and was lively but lacking the finishing touch, forcing into nodding over the goal by a leaping Zabaleta challenge.

Moments after David De Gea made a stunning one-handed stop, Ryan Fredericks chopped down Martial in the box. Pogba laid into his effoert for 2-1.