Manchester United Favourite Extends Old Trafford Stay whilst Defender Faces Exit

Manchester United

Juan Mata puts pen to paper on new one-year deal

As the January transfer window drew to a close on Wednesday, Manchester United could look back on their dealings fondly, having sensationally completed the signing of winger Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal. Following the Chilean’s arrival, manager Jose Mourinho made it clear that there would be no more new faces arriving at Old Trafford before the end of the campaign. However, United did deliver good news on deadline day, announcing that the club had taken up the option to extend Juan Mata’s contract by a further year. The Spaniard, who has established himself as a fan’s favourite since joining from Chelsea back in 2014, was set to become a free agent at the end of the season when his contract was due to run out. Mourinho, though, sees Mata as a vital part of his plans at Old Trafford and shortly after the midfielder’s contract extension was announced, the Portuguese boss was determined to underline the player’s importance to his squad.

“(He’s) an important player for me; important player for the club; important player for the other players,” Mourinho said.

Mata has scored 39 times in 172 appearances for the Reds and it seems as though he will continue to play a key part for United, despite the added competition for places through the arrival of Sanchez.

Roma interested in signing Daley Blind

There were, however, reports linking two United players with moves away from Old Trafford. Having seen his playing-time reduced drastically this season, the Daily Mail reported that Daley Blind was attracting interest from Italian giants Roma. The Netherlands international has made just 13 starts in all competitions for the Reds and has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford. At left-back, Ashley Young and Luke Shaw are battling it out for a permanent spot, whilst the likes of Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof seem to be Mourinho’s preferred choices at the heart of the defence. It is believed that Roma made a bid to sign the Dutchman on loan until the end of the season, only for United to insist on a permanent deal. As a result, the Serie A outfit are likely to revive their interest in Blind in the summer months as the 27-year-old, who is currently out injured, sees out the final year of his deal.

LA Galaxy set to complete Zlatan Ibrahimovic swoop?

Another player whose time at Old Trafford could be coming to an end is veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede enjoyed a fantastic debut season at Old Trafford last campaign but saw it cut short by a serious knee injury and is now being widely tipped to make the move to American outfit LA Galaxy. According to L’Equipe, the former Barcelona man agreed terms with the MLS side three weeks ago and with his current deal set to expire at the end of the campaign, Mourinho has made it clear that he will not stand in the Swede’s way should he seek a move away from the club. Having originally been released by United, the Reds re-signed the forward on a one-year deal during the summer months. However, Ibrahimovic has struggled for fitness and form this term, scoring just one goal for United, during their catastrophic defeat at the hands of Championship side Bristol City. The arrival of Romelu Lukaku from Everton back in July meant the 37-year-old would have a reduced amount of playing time at United, although it is fair to say that his second season at Old Trafford has not gone as planned.

About the Author

Alex DeMarco
23-year-old University student from Malta, currently studying Communications and starting out in the world of football journalism. Lifelong Manchester United fan with a passion for all things football.