Italian champions Juventus are eyeing up a move for Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata in January should the Spaniard becomes marginalised at Old Trafford.
United spent the best part of £40m on Mata barley six months ago so it’s unlikely they will let the diminutive schemer leave lightly.
However, the fresh arrivals of megastar pairing Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao have now thrown his certain inclusion in the Red Devils starting XI into serious question.
If new manager Louis van Gaal decides he wants to keep playing two up front then there’s a distinct possibility Wayne Rooney or Di Maria could be dropped into Mata’s preferred number 10 role.
Mata, after all was not Van Gaal’s signing and it could shape up to become a similar scenario to that the Spanish international faced at former club Chelsea after Jose Mourinho took charge for his second spell.
The Portuguese boss virtually forced him out of Stamford Bridge in January having left Mata on the bench for the vast majority of Premier League games.
While there’s not yet the evidence to suggest Van Gaal will follow suit, like Mourinho the Dutchman has shown little fear in sidelining big names at previous clubs should they not fit into his way of thinking.
Naturally Mata will be keen to stay and prove his worth to United given the hefty sum attached to his transfer and he’s already off the mark in the Premier League which is a good sign.
The ex Chelsea and Valencia maestro scored the opener at Sunderland but the 13-time champions still couldn’t get over the line at the Stadium of Light.
The Old Trafford faithful will be desperate for their side to claim a first three point-haul of the season next up when Falcao and Di Maria are set for their home debuts against QPR.
United are 2/7 favourites to get their first win of the campaign in all competitions.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.