There were several satisfying aspects to Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Leicester City this past weekend. Paul Pogba enjoyed his best game in a red shirt since his £89m move from Juventus, scoring United’s 4th goal with a powerful headerand combining well with his; Ander Herrera was impressive in a defensive midfielder role, scooping up possession when required and offering excellent link-up play; it was also excellent to see United looking so lethal up front, with their four goals coming in the space of a little over twenty minutes in the first half and making the second period something of a precession.
Juan Mata can be particularly pleased with his own contribution to the result, scoring United’s second after a wonderful team move and rasping finish before setting up Marcus Rashford for his third goal of the season. The Spaniard was restored to the starting line-up at number 10, and produced a clean, incisive and impressive display, which will have given Jose Mourinho plenty to think about when he builds his starting XI for this Sunday’s visit of Stoke City.
It now appears that Mata is thinking beyond his current contract at Old Trafford, too. The former Chelsea player signed a four and a half year deal in January 2014, and has two years left to run on his £140,000 per-week deal, but according to The Sun, Mata is keen to extend his current agreement with the club and tie himself down to United for the long term. A source quoted in the report says:
“There have been talks, but Juan is still in the dark over his future at the club. He is desperate to stay and likes his life in the Manchester area. It is all down to Jose’s decision now. United don’t want to leave this one rumbling though and are keen to sort it before the New Year.”
From the club’s perspective, it’s unlikely that they’ll be against offering Mata a new contract. He’s one of the club’s most popular figures, and given his standing with the fans, you’ll find few grumbles should a new deal be offered and signed. Of course, it’s not solely down to them; reports of Mata facing the axe when Mourinho took over at United this May were rife, before the tone changed as it appeared that Mata had won over his former manager with his effort and application. Given his solid start to this season, and his level of effectiveness behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic whilst Wayne Rooney has chugged along in the same role, you wouldn’t bet against the Portuguese being happy with United’s number 8 getting his wish to extend his stay at Old Trafford.