Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is being targeted by one of the world’s finest sides – and it would take him back to his home country and La Liga.
Mata’s senior career began in the city – but with Atletico’s rivals. The creative midfielder spent the 2006-07 season with Real Madrid Castilla, scoring ten goals in 39 appearances before moving up to the top tier with a transfer to Valencia the following season, when they triggered the release clause in his contract.
Had Juan opted to remain with Los Blancos, he may never have wound up at United – where he has scored nineteen times in seventy-three appearances since arriving from Chelsea in the 2014 January transfer window.
Simeone has a wealth of talented midfielders at his disposal; Koke, Saul, Gabi and Tiago provide a strong threat – but there has been something missing in the creative department since the sale of Turkish attacker Arda Turan, who, like Mata, could play anywhere across the midfield.
Atletico are looking to reinforce their squad with the kind of quality who could bring them another top flight title; they won the league in 2013-14 as well as reaching the Champions League final – and the temptation of a return to sunny Spain, a real chance at the title and Champions League football may tempt Mata to make the switch if United don’t turn their ship around.