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Manchester United extend Juan Mata’s contract for a further twelve months

Manchester United have activated a clause in the contract of Juan Mata which will see the Spanish midfielder remain at the club until the summer of 2019. Mata’s current contract was due to expire at the end of the season leaving the player able to negotiate with foreign clubs ahead of a free transfer in the summer. Mata joined United from Chelsea four years ago after then manager Jose Mourinho allowed him to leave the club with David Moyes making a big signing, which did not save him his job, although it gave United supporters something to be positive about.

Recently, Mourinho had spoken about how important a figure Mata was at the Old Trafford club which left many asking why he has not been given a new contract with the club. Mata will turn 30 on the 28th April 2018 which could be the reason the player is not being given a new bumper contract as the trend has seen players of a certain age being offered smaller contracts, which had been the case with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and many others in the recent past.

When Mourinho became United manager just over 18 months ago, the media were a stir with the fact Mata would be the first player out of the door at Old Trafford, all because of the fact he was benched by Mourinho at Chelsea, seldom played and was allowed to leave. That became a fallacy as Mata established himself as one of Mourinho’s trusted players in this short time, still with plenty to offer the Old Trafford club. This new 12-month addition to the player’s contract shows just that. There is no reason why his contract would not be renewed in a year’s time if the player wanted it.

Speaking about what was said when Mourinho arrived at the Theatre of Dreams, the Portuguese reminisced:

“Mata is very important. When I arrived one-and-a-half years ago, [they said], ‘Mata is in trouble, in trouble, in trouble’, and now he’s getting an extension of one more year. An important player for me; important player for the club; important player for the other players.”

During an exclusive interview conducted by MUTV on Tuesday afternoon, Mata spoke about delight to remain a Manchester United player beyond the current season, also adding that he hopes that he will still be at the club in the years to come. The Spaniard commented:

“I still feel very happy and very proud to be part of this club. I think everyone that belongs to Manchester United should feel privileged, and that’s how I feel. I’m happy with everyone at the club and, obviously, with the manager and my team-mates.

“Once you are part of this club, your football career is not the same; it changes, because this is one of the biggest clubs in football history. Every day I try to tell myself how lucky and how privileged I am, try to take advantage of every single training session, and try to see how important it is to be a Manchester United player.”

Mata has played 172 times for United in just over four years, which is some feat. The player could make his 200th appearance for United during his next year at the club, which is not something that will be achievable this season as United only have 17 matches left as we stand. Of course, if United make it to the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League, it could add two more matches, and embarking into the next round of the FA Cup, should United beat Birmingham City or Huddersfield Town, whoever wins the replay, will add another but not enough to reach 200 this season.

Mata spoke about his time as a United player, which he has done under David Moyes, Ryan Giggs, Louis van Gaal and now Mourinho, scoring 39 goals in his time at the club. Mata has won the FA Community Shield, the Emirates FA Cup, the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League at Old Trafford and will always be remembered for scoring those two sublime goals against Liverpool at Anfield in March 2015, which was a great day for everyone at Juanfield. Speaking time at the club and previously as a child, Mata said:

“At eight, ten, twelve years old, I never imagined that I would play for such a club. I remember the big players – Scholes, Giggs, Beckham, Van Nistelrooy, Ferdinand, Vidic – and it felt so far from where I was playing, but now I’m here it’s a special feeling.

“We have had so many new players during my four years, but now we know each other and understand each other better. We are creating a kind of stability that I believe is needed to build and to create a positive consistency in terms of getting results and getting trophies.”

Mata is expected to be a part of the matchday squad to face Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in the Premier League on Wednesday evening – a must-win match for United if they are to continue the challenge of Manchester City, who are still 12 points ahead at the top of the league table. City face West Bromwich Albion, a team who beat Liverpool in the FA Cup at the weekend, at the Etihad at the same time United play, so perhaps the deficit could be as low as nine points by the end of the evening, although it will probably remain at 12. Could Mata score goal number 40 at Wembley?

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