Manchester United star in line for surprise new contract extension

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Manchester United are reportedly set to hand Juan Mata a new contract to avoid the Spaniard leaving on a free at the end of the season.

Mata’s current deal expires in June and many expected him to leave after another season where he has featured sporadically under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

But the Daily Star claim that United have decided to instead trigger a one-year extension in the playmaker’s contract so they can demand a fee should he depart Old Trafford.

The report adds that Mata is settled in Manchester and would be happy to remain at the club for another 12 months.

Mata, 32, is hugely admired by Solskjaer and his United teammates but a new role is surprising given his limited playing role over the last two seasons.

The midfielder has made just 12 appearances in all competitions this term and hasn’t started since the 1-0 Premier League win over West Brom on November 21.

He has struggled with injuries in recent weeks and was again left out of the squad for Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Brighton.

Mata’s absence has not been felt which may have prompted Solskjaer to allow him to leave to pursue a new challenge this summer.

But it appears that he remains a valued member of the squad and could extend his stay at United beyond eight-years after arriving from Chelsea in 2014.