JUAN MATA’s agent has offered the Manchester United playmaker to Barcelona.
The 30-year-old is set to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season on a free transfer when his contract expires.
According to Mundo Deportivo, one of Mata’s representatives travelled to Barcelona for talks with Nou Camp chiefs.
It is claimed the Manchester United ace was pitched as a potential replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who has struggled since joining from Liverpool last January.
Barcelona reportedly organised a meeting with Coutinho following the visit from Mata’s camp.
Mundo Deportivo claim the club’s bosses left the chat confident the Brazilian could recapture the form that convinced them to spend an initial £105m for his signature.
As result, Barcelona have decided to turn down Mata’s advances and stick with Coutinho.
Ernesto Valverde, the team’s head coach, was full of praise for Coutinho after Sunday’s 2-0 win against Girona, despite the playmaker’s poor performance.
“What I like about Coutinho is that he’s daring and he’s always prepared to take the opposition on,” Valverde said.
“He makes things happen. After that, sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t. He’s had good chances and the fact that he’s getting into those positions one-on-one with the goalkeeper is really good. He’s not converted those chances this time, but he will.”
Mata joined United from Chelsea for £37.1m in January 2014.
He marked five years at the club on Monday, and said: “What plenty of you don’t remember is that on that day our current manager was there too… although he was on the opposing bench!
“I remember his words in the tunnel before I headed out onto the pitch: “Welcome to this fantastic club, Juan, it is incredible, you’ll see. Enjoy it as much as you can and good luck.”
“Five years later, we’re both still here.”
Old Trafford bosses are set to offer Mata a one-year extension to avoid losing him on a free transfer.
Arsenal have also been linked with a move for the Spaniard.