Discover more from Stretty Newsletter
🔴 Juan Mata signs new deal & four United players in hunt for international success THIS WEEKEND!
Get the latest on Manchester United from Stretty News - completely ad-free! ⛔️
By Dale O’Donnell, Stretty News editor, @ODonnellDale
Is football coming home or will it remain homeless?
One thing that is at least set in stone at the time of writing is Juan Mata’s future.
Mata has signed fresh terms to stay at Manchester United, but with a diminishing contribution to the team, what does the Spaniard bring to the first team and the club as a whole?
The contract is only a one-year deal and it will see Mata embark on a ninth campaign with United, since joining from Chelsea in 2014. And during that time, he has managed 51 goals in 273 games for United – winning the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup.
“I didn’t know that it was the ninth [season] already, but time flies. Of course I’ve lived many good moments at this club, other difficult ones, but yes, I’m staying and I’m very much looking forward for what I hope will be a good season for the team and for myself.”
As far as I’m concerned, we are talking about one of the best post-Ferguson signings to date, although that doesn’t change the fact I don’t want him anywhere near the starting XI next season (I don’t think he will be either). However, it is the experience of Mata, and the sheer professionalism, that will contribute to the development of younger players.
This is a player who is only missing two trophies on his CV (Premier League and FIFA Club World Cup) and Solskjaer was not prepared to loser a winner this summer. That is understandable given the teams’ bottle will come under question this season as pressure mounts on the manager to deliver trophies following disappointment in Gdansk.
I’m happy he stays because even with Mata’s playing career winding down, United are set to benefit from his presence and I wouldn’t rule out him earning a coaching role at the club in the not too distant future.
Raphael Varane latest: Manchester United waiting on Real Madrid
Fans have quickly gone from asking about Jadon Sancho to Raphael Varane, and our understanding is that the Frenchman remains United’s number one target for a centre-back this summer.
The biggest hurdle is Real Madrid valuation, with Varane unwilling to sign a new contract and his current deal expiring next year, and Fabrizio Romano claims there has been no official bid yet.
It is understood United are waiting for a price-tag from Real Madrid, who don’t seem to be in any rush, because I’d imagine their relationship with the Reds has been tested in recent months — more so now than after the David de Gea fax machine hiccup.
Pre-season preparations are underway and you’d hope whoever they sign for the centre-back role can get a few games under his belt before the new season kicks off.
Varane is currently on holiday after Euro 2020 but will want his future sorted before his return date for Los Blancos training.
Will they keep the Frenchman against his will and risk losing him for free?
Or is Varane playing United for a new and bigger deal?
Ticket news for Derby pre-season friendly with away allocation permitted
Euro 2020 & Copa America fever (…not forgetting Tokyo 2020)
It’s a busy weekend for United on the international scene – with England playing Italy in the Euro 2020 final before Brazil take on Argentina in the Copa America final.
Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire deserve honourable mentions too, of course, but Marucs Rashford and Jadon Sancho have hardly featured for the Three Lions.
Player to watch: Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Italy) - Il Napolista claim the right-back has been viewed as an alternative to Aaron Wan-Bissaka and would cost roughly €20m.
Moreover, Amad Diallo will be starring for the Ivory Coast at the Olympics.
Stretty News wishes the United lads all the best!