PREMIER LEAGUE

Solskjaer still unsure of Juan Mata's future at Manchester United

Juan Mata is out of contract next month and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the midfielder will decide if he stays at Manchester United or not.

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Solskjaer still unsure of Mata's future at Man United

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is unsure whether Juan Mata will remain at the club beyond this season. The Spanish midfielder has spent the last seven-and-a-half years at Old Trafford, racking up 271 appearances during that time.

However, he has struggled for minutes this season – featuring just 16 times in all competitions – and is due to become a free agent next month. United have the option to trigger a 12-month extension in Mata's contract, but Solskjaer insists the player himself will have the final say over his future.

Mata is the master of his own future, says Solskjaer

"I've kept the dialogue with Juan and we're due to speak again very soon," he said at a news conference on Monday previewing his side's home match with Fulham. "Of course, he's not played as much as he'd like and that's a decision that we'll make with him. He's in charge of his own future and he's been such a good servant for the club. But of course, it's hard, as I've said so many times, to leave good players out, good people out of the team. It's about what does he want as his next step in his career? Is it still play out his career here, or is it going somewhere else? We haven't made a final decision yet."

Mata's appearance in a much-changed United's 1-2 defeat to Leicester City last week was just his fifth start of the season in the Premier League, not helped by injuries and family matters. Prior to that rare outing against the Foxes, Mata had played just two minutes of top-flight football for United in 2021, coming on as a late substitute in February's 3-1 win against Newcastle United.

He has failed to score in the league since April 2019 but does have two assists in 2020-21, which equates to 0.42 per 90 minutes and is the best record of any United player to have played more than once this season. Bruno Fernandes is next on the list with 0.33 assists per 90 minutes, albeit over a far greater period of 36 games compared to Mata's eight. The 33-year-old also ranks highly for chances created, the Spaniard's 1.69 per 90 minutes behind only Luke Shaw (2.53) and Fernandes (2.81).

Lazio link

Serie A side Lazio are reportedly the favourites to sign the former Valencia and Chelsea man should he depart Old Trafford in the coming weeks.