Transfer rumours: Real Madrid keen on Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata

The Los Blancos are keen on bringing Spain international Mata back to where he started his career as a boost to their inconsistent squad

Juan Mata
Juan Mata has been substituted in each of his 11 starts this season Reuters

Real Madrid could make a shock move for Juan Mata to take the Manchester United star back to the Bernabeu.

The Spanish midfielder started his career with Los Blancos but failed to graduate from Castilla before joining Valencia.

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And as per ESPN, Zinedine Zidane could make a move to add a fresh identity to his flailing squad with a potential bargain in the horizon given Mata's contract expires next summer.

Mata was surprisingly left out of Jose Mourinho's 18-man squad for the defeat to Chelsea on Sunday sparking questions about his long-term future at Old Trafford, especially because his contract expires next summer.

It is understood that Real want the Spain international midfielder to spark fresh impetus into their faltering season. Mata started his career as a youngster at the Bernabeu before making a name for himself at Valencia and then Chelsea.

Mourinho sold Mata to United during his second spell at Stamford Bridge and even though he was a regular last season when United won the League Cup and Europa League double. He has not been as effective this season and continues to play wide rather than his favourite No 10 position.

Significantly, he has been substituted in each of his 11 starts this season.

He is going to be 30 in April and United could be willing to listen to offers in January to avoid him leaving on a free in the summer.

Fans favourite Mata was humiliatingly hauled off at half-time of the recent shock defeat at Huddersfield after a mistake that led to one of the Terriers' goals.

He was then an unused sub for the home win over Tottenham and then left out of the 18 for the Chelsea game altogether, although he did travel to London with the squad.

Real are keeping an eye on developments as they prepare to make their move as soon as the transfer window opens in January, according to the Express.

Mata, however, insists he is still at the peak of his powers and feels he can perform at the highest level for years to come.

"It's gone quickly to be honest. I made my professional debut when I was 18 in Real Madrid's second team, and then in Valencia in the first division when I was 19," Mata said.

"So it's 10 years which went really, really quickly. Time flies, in general but, in football, even more. But I see myself young in a way, you know, my body feels good, my mind feels good."