Juan Mata is unsure about whether he’ll return to his native Spain from Manchester United in the future, but he has said he occasionally feels homesick.
Mata’s contract at Old Trafford expires at the end of the season, and he is yet to sign off on fresh terms with the Red Devils.
On Thursday, he told AS (h/t Sky Sports): “I’ve been in England for a while, but it’s true that at times you miss home, your family, your friends. But I don’t know if I’ll return to Spain in the near future. I’m calm, I’m at the fantastic club that is Manchester United, one of the biggest in the world.”
Mata has been with United for five years, having joined from Chelsea in January 2014. In that time, he has made 207 appearances, scoring 44 goals and providing 35 assists.
This season, he has five goals and two assists, having spread his contributions around, per football statistician Dave O’Brien.
The club have the option to turn elsewhere for their next permanent manager come the summer—and whoever that is will have their own ideas as to whether Mata and others are in their plans—the 30-year-old’s performances in the coming months could secure him a new deal if he reminds the incoming manager of his talents.
Although he’s not the quickest or most mobile, few in United’s squad can match the diminutive playmaker’s technical ability, intelligence on the ball or creativity.
If Mata were to leave United for free in the summer, he could be a bargain capture for whoever signs him.
There would likely be no shortage of suitors happy to snap him up, both in the Premier League—where he has a proven track record as a match-winner—and in Spain.