Juan Mata has had a tough time of it in England so far.
After leaving his native Spain in 2011 for Chelsea, Mata enjoyed two seasons of continued success. Topping assist charts and scoring his own share of goals, Mata was Chelsea’s standout player between 2011 and 2013, and he was duly rewarded with back-to-back in-house Player of the Year awards at the club.
A fans’ favourite, Chelsea supports were keen to see how Mata would develop under new managership as Jose Mourinho joined the club; but then things took an unexpected turn.
Mourinho, for whatever reason, didn’t rate Juan Mata, and despite two years of sustained success Mata found himself out of the Chelsea first-team for the first time.
Six months after becoming manager, Mourinho proceeded to deem Mata surplus to requirements and this sealed the Spanish midfielder’s fate. By the end of the January transfer window in 2014 Mata had left Chelsea and joined Manchester United.
What followed was two good, if not spectacular, seasons in red.
Fast forward to 2016, and Mourinho is the new Man Utd boss, leaving Mata’s future in jeopardy once again.
His substitute appearance in the Community Shield sealed Mata’s fate, with Mourinho giving Mata the infamous ‘sub-sub’; taking the midfielder off just minutes after he was brought onto the pitch as a substitute.
Now, Mata’s departure looks inevitable; and he could do a real job at another top side.
With that, here are FIVE clubs that should look to sign Juan Mata this summer
Everton have been long-linked with Mata, and it is easy to see where he would fit in at the side.
A club of lower stature and less quality, Mata would immediately come into the side and become the team’s star. After several years of inconsistent appearances, it would be wise for Mata to join a side where he can play week-in-week-out.
Everton are a good fit in terms of playing style too – pass and move, one touch passing style of football has always been sought at Goodison Park, and Mata is particularly strong in this vein.
You always have to look towards the needs of Everton as a side; and there’s no doubting that the side could really do with some improvements in the attacking third. A slot alongside Barkley would prove deadly for Everton going forward.
Chelsea are yet to be linked with a move for their ex-Player of the Year; and to be honest it is hard to see why.
Mata was a real fan favourite with the Blues, and immediately settled into life with Chelsea and in London.
There would be no better way to get Antonio Conte on side that to bring Mata back; and there’s no questioning what he would offer to the side.
With Oscar woefully inconsistent, additional attacking depth will be key for Chelsea going forward and Mata is the perfect man for that role.
Not to mention the fact that he would no doubt be available for a cut price fee, meaning the club would still be in the black compared to what they sold the midfielder for.
A return to Spain has always been mentioned when discussing the future of Mata, and Atletico Madrid are a side that could really benefit from his return.
A reunion with Fernando Torres could bring Torres back to his best, and there is no doubting that Mata’s style of play would suit the club well.
The side are crying out for offensive creativity, and Mata could prove deadly in combination with the ruthless and prolific Antoine Griezmann.
Another team that would perfectly suit Juan Mata, Tottenham would struggle to do better than the Spanish international.
Their quick, pass and move style of play would suit Mata down to the ground, and alongside Deli Alli he could prove absolutely deadly.
With the side reportedly keen to bolster their attacking options, should Mata become available he should become a genuine target.
A Premier League ready midfielder is hard to come by.
Having started his career with Real Madrid, a return to his hometown club would no doubt be a dream for Mata.
The side have occasionally been linked with his signature, and whilst he currently would struggle to fit into the XI a lot could happen over the next few weeks.
James Rodriguez is consistently being linked with a move away from the Bernabeu, as are Isco and Alvaro Morata. Should any of those stars leave, Mata could be an ideal replacement.
This one is the least likely, but you can definitely see where Mata would fit in.