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08 Aug 2018

Manchester United: Who benefits if Juan Mata leaves for Inter Milan?

REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

As is a recurring occurrence during every transfer window, an exclusive from Sky Italia's Gianluca Di Marzio had the world of football collectively pricking their ears.

His latest report suggests that Manchester United have offered Juan Mata to Inter Milan. Granted, the report also states they would prefer to sign Monaco ace Keita Balde, but the Senegalese winger would cost a lot of money and be difficult to secure.

A transfer to Inter might not happen, but it suggests that Manchester United's number eight is dispensable to Jose Mourinho and could be available on the market.

Should the move not happen, expect to see Mata linked with other European clubs, especially as the transfer windows in Italy, Spain and France close a lot later than England's.

Can Manchester United afford to lose him?

When Jose Mourinho arrived in Manchester two summers ago, Juan Mata must have been fearing for his future. At Chelsea, he was a fan-favorite — a hero of their recent Champions League win — and voted Player of the Season the year before as they won the Europa League with Rafael Benitez.

But when the Portuguese returned to Stamford Bridge, he struggled to see a place for Mata and soon shipped him out, selling him in the winter window to David Moyes' Manchester United. 

History didn't repeat itself, however, and Mata has enjoyed some success under Mourinho's stewardship this time around. For the second time, he was integral to a Europa League win as Manchester United defeated Ajax in the 2017 final, a vital trophy that ensured their return to the Champions League.

Last season he may no longer have commanded an automatic spot in the starting XI, but remained an important and reliable member of the squad, and still made 23 Premier League starts, four more than the previous year.