Arsenal are reportedly hopeful of being able to convince Juan Mata to join them in the summer on a free transfer because of the way he is approaching contract renewal talks at Manchester United.
Arsenal have been long-time admirers of Juan Mata, coming close to signing him in 2011 before he joined Chelsea instead. Since then, Mata has moved on but Arsenal, it appears, have not.
Mata is free to talk to foreign clubs in January and free to do what he likes when the summer rolls around. With Jose Mourinho still at the helm at Manchester United, it’s less than surprising he’s taking his sweet time over things.
Arsenal have a limited budget for transfers and we are likely to see them scouring the market for young and free talent. Mata would fall in the latter category but his wages may well prove a problem. Arsenal reportedly want to lower their wage bill yet Mata currently earns £140k-per-week at United. Signing on a free, he will expect a massive signing-on bonus either in a lump sum or spread across the duration of his contract in his wages.
That being said, Arsenal are likely to shed Aaron Ramsey’s £110k-per-week deal at the same time, but signing Mata would still represent a net increase on the wage bill and I just don’t see that happening.
It also has to be asked if this latest development is a reflection of reality or the imaginings of a S*n journalist. While Arsenal have been reportedly interested in Mata for a while, the S*n seem to have read an ESPN report of Mata’s slow-walking contract approach and magically stumbled across a story involving Arsenal.