Juan Mata on Barcelona’s radar

Barcelona are lining up a deal to take Manchester United’s Juan Mata back to Spain.

Barca see the 30-year-old midfielder as the ideal replacement for departing club legend Anders Iniesta.

Jose Mourinho has made it clear to the club’s hierarchy that he is happy to keep the Spaniard, but he is far from being a first-team regular.

United exercised a 12-month option they had on Mata in January to prevent him moving on a free transfer and they are now ready to cash in – with Barca willing to pay £25million, which would see United getting back a sizeable chunk of the fee they paid Chelsea for him.

Mata is aware of Barca’s interest and it is understood he would jump at the chance to join the Catalan giants.

Bookmakers currently believe Mata is more like to stay at United, but PaddyPower have made Barcelona just 11/8 to land him.

Spokesman Paddy Power said: “Mata and Mourinho’s relationship is very much a love/hate affair, with Jose ready to dump him at any given opportunity.

“But gaslighting aside, the odds suggest the little Spaniard is set to stay at Old Trafford this summer. Failing that, he’s off to Barcelona. Not a bad choice to have to make!”

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