Manchester United star linked with shock return to Real Madrid

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has emerged as a surprise target for Real Madrid ahead of the January transfer window. The Spain international has just eight months left on his existing United contract.

According to The Express, the European champions could lodge a winter attempt for the 29-year-old, who has fallen out-of-favour under Jose Mourinho over the past month. Mata started the campaign as a regular on the right side of the attack, but his future has come into question since the Huddersfield game, where his individual mistake cost United in a shocking 2-1 defeat.

The midfielder has since earned just 68 minutes of first-team football in the Champions League versus Benfica while he has played no part in the Premier League games against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea – the latter in which he failed to make the matchday squad.

Mata spent his early career with Real Madrid Castilla after which he made a name for himself with the likes of Valencia and Chelsea. The Spaniard has been a solid performer for United over the past three seasons, but it appears that he has dropped down the pecking order this term – owing to his struggles to contribute in terms of goals and assists.

As per The Express, Zinedine Zidane is looking at the possibility of adding fresh recruits in the midfield, and Mata is regarded as a potential bargain for the New Year. The Spaniard is said to have a one-year extension clause on his current contract.

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