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According to the latest reports, Arsenal are set to target Manchester United’s attacking midfielder Juan Mata who is in the final year of his contract. It is believed that the 30-year-old is reluctant to extend his deal with the Red Devils and Unai Emery is liking the prospect of landing him for free next summer. Emery had earlier worked with the Spanish playmaker during his Valencia days, and Mata made a big name for himself under the current Arsenal manager which earned him a move to English heavyweights Chelsea in 2011.
It is being reported that even after seven years, Emery remains a big fan of Mata and he doesn’t mind having the Spaniard back under his tutelage. However, with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan available as playmakers, the Spaniard is going to have a hard time to find some game time at the Emirates.
The Spaniard can play as an inverted winger down the right flank so that could be one of the areas Emery might be looking to improve. The Gunners squad currently lack an out an out winger, but they haven’t done too poorly when it comes to scoring goals as their forwards have been taking their chances with aplomb.
If Arsenal would have had to pay something to land Mata, then the move might not have made much sense but the fact that the London club is looking to sign him for free next year, definitely makes him an option worth considering.
However, his performance of late has been impressive, and Mourinho had started him in the last three games in the Premier League when the pressure was on him after the defeat against West Ham United. Therefore, the Spaniard does feel like a valuable player for the Red Devils even though he still has to fight for his place in the starting eleven.
With Mesut Ozil signing a long-term contract not too long ago, it seems highly unlikely that the Spaniard would pip the German for a starting spot. So even at Arsenal, he might have to bide his time on the bench until and unless there is some departure from the club.
Signing Mata doesn’t seem like a necessity for Arsenal and the player might also look to move to a club where he would be getting regular game time. The fact that he is available for free will also pique interest from various clubs, and the Gunners might have to fight off some serious competition to land him. However, the Emery factor cannot be ignored as the Spanish manager has worked with him for close to four years which certainly gives him an edge over others in landing this United playmaker.