Newcastle United are keen on signing Juan Mata, according to The Sun. The report claims the Manchester United playmaker is wanted on a free transfer with his contract at Old Trafford expiring this summer.
Rafa Benitez wants the 31-year-old at St James Park but any deal would depend on several factors. Firstly, it would need the club’s hierarchy to change their transfer policy regarding players over 26-years-old.
It would also need Mata to take a pay-cut. The 41-cap Spanish international is reported to be on £140,000-a-week with the Red Devils.
So why would Mata take a pay-cut to come and play for Newcastle United? Well, of course, Rafa Benitez is the reason.
Benitez managed Mata during his controversial period as interim Chelsea boss. As reported by The Sun in 2015, Mata gushed over the impact that the Newcastle boss had on his performances.
“I had a great experience with him. It was my best year in England, in which I had the best statistics.
“He gave me enormous confidence to play and made me feel important in the team.”
Indeed, Mata was sensational in that 2012-13 campaign. The Spaniard scored 19 goals and provided 35 assists in 64 games for the Blues that season. Two of those assists came in the 2-1 win against Benfica in the Europa League final.
Benitez can clearly get the best out of Mata. With all that considered, Newcastle United might have to seriously consider breaking their policy on this occasion.