Jose Mourinho has told Juan Mata that he has a future at Manchester United – with the warning that he will not guarantee regular football for anyone at Old Trafford.
Spain midfielder Mata was sold by Mourinho just six months into the new United manager’s second spell in charge of Chelsea in January 2014.
With United offering a then-club record £37.1m for Mata, Mourinho sanctioned his sale following Oscar’s emergence ahead of the former Valencia player at Stamford Bridge.
But despite spending £26.3m on Armenia international Henrikh Mkhitarayan earlier this month, Mourinho insists that Mata has a place in his plans at United.
“I think since the first day, everything is clear between us,” Mourinho said. “There is space for him.
“He is a talented player but I don’t promise places to anyone. I promise respect and I like him.
“So if he wants to stay and I think he wants – until this moment I don’t have one little sign that he wanted to leave so I think he wants to stay — then yes, there is space for him and yes, I think he can be useful to the club.”
Juan Mata has scored 26 goals in 104 appearances for United since arriving from Chelsea, including the equaliser in last season’s FA Cup final victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley.
The 28-year-old faces a battle for his place with Mkhitaryan, but Mourinho claims that he proved his admiration for Mata at Chelsea by continually selecting him in his squad, only for the player to request a move to United