The Spaniard put pen to paper on a new two-year deal at Old Trafford last month and insists he always “wanted to commit” his future to the club
Juan Mata says he decided to sign a contract extension at Manchester United because it is a “special club” and he already has his sights on winning major trophies next season.
The Spain international’s future was the subject of much speculation over the last few months, amid reports of an impasse in negotiations over a new deal.
The 31-year-old was due to become a free agent on July 1, but despite rumours of a possible switch to Barcelona, he agreed to fresh terms at the Theatre of Dreams last month and will now remain at the club until 2021.
Mata joined United from Chelsea in 2013 and has since managed to rack up over 200 appearances for the club, scoring 45 goals across all competitions.
The midfielder has picked up FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League winners’ medals during his time at Old Trafford, standing out in a team which has faced a great deal of criticism.
Ahead of the Red Devils’ pre-season tour of Australia, Mata explained his reasons for staying in Manchester, despite facing “difficult moments” in recent years.
“There were many things, the first thing is the feeling of belonging to this club, it’s something special, unique,” he told MUTV.
“We know there are three or four big clubs in Europe and United is one of them. Despite it not being the best moment in our history, even though we have won trophies, that feeling of waking up every day and feeling like a Red Devil is unbelievable so I wanted to keep feeling that.
“I wanted to stay, I wanted to keep giving my best to bring United where it belongs. I’ve been here more than five years and I realise how amazing the supporters are even in the tough moments.
“So I cannot imagine if we win a big trophy how it would be, how the town will change red. I imagine myself in that situation so that is another reason why I wanted to stay.
“I’ve lived difficult moments but I am really looking forward to living great moments with this club.
“Despite all that I wanted to stay. I wanted to commit to the club and keep enjoying wearing this shirt and keep trying my best.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side finished sixth in the Premier League last term, missing out on Champions League qualification and silverware after securing only two wins from their final 12 matches.
United have opted to chase young, homegrown talent in the transfer window in order to strengthen, with Welsh winger Daniel James and England defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka drafted in from Swansea and Crystal Palace, respectively.
Solskjaer is expecting to add one or two extra players to his ranks before the market closes and Southampton’s Mario Lemina is among United’s potential targets after expressing his desire to leave St Mary’s.
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