Manchester United have been handed a major boost to secure the signing of FC Barcelona club-record signing Phillipe Coutinho, with reports in Spain claiming the Spanish giants have turned their attention to Juan Mata.
The Brazil international has struggled to establish himself in the Blaugrana first XI since his €142 million (R2.2b) switch from Liverpool in January last year and his future has come under doubt after several insipid displays in the absence of Ousmane Dembele through injury.
Sport recently claimed that Coutinho will speak to Ernesto Valverde about his long-term prospects amid links to Manchester United and potential Liverpool return.
Marca meanwhile stated Coutinho, who has made 20 starts in all competitions this term, will be kept in the starting line-up in a bid to build his confidence, although when Dembele returns from injury his place will be in jeopardy.
According to new reports, the Catalan giants could already be lining up Coutinho’s replacement in United midfielder Juan Mata on a free transfer as a more reliable back-up option, which would render the Brazilian surplus to requirements – leading to his eventual exit.
Mata’s agent has flown to Barcelona to initiate talks over a possible deal, while the Manchester Evening News state that the Red Devils have offered the Spaniard fresh terms, but that there are disagreements.
It’s claimed United wanted to tie Mata down to a new £140,000 a week deal in the wake of rival interest from Arsenal – but the interest from Barcelona offers fresh concern for the club’s efforts to keep the Spanish playmaker beyond the end of the season.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate