Chris Smith has dropped an update on reported Leeds United transfer target Juan Mata.

What’s the talk?

In a recent post on Twitter, the 90min journalist revealed that, following the attacking midfielder’s exit from Manchester United on a free transfer at the end of last season, he has been informed that negotiations between the 34-year-old and Victor Orta regarding a summer switch to Elland Road are progressing slowly but are heading in the right direction.

Smith goes on to state that the former Spain international has also been linked with moves to both the MLS and to the Turkish Super Lig this summer, however, the playmaker would prefer to join a club in a top European league ahead of the 2022/23 campaign – with Real Betis, Marseille and either AS Roma or SS Lazio also believed to be interested in the midfielder.

In his tweet, the journalist said: “I’m told negotiations between Juan Mata & Leeds United are going slowly but ‘on the right track’. Mata was linked to MLS & Turkey but his priority is staying in a top Euro league. Real Betis, Marseille & one of the Rome giants also interested.”

Major coup

While it is true that Mata is well into the twilight years of his career at the very top of the professional game, it is nevertheless undeniable that, should Orta manage to convince the forward-thinking midfielder of a move to Elland Road ahead of the other interested parties this summer, it would be a major coup for Jesse Marsch and his side.

Despite the £2.25m-rated talent seeing his game time at Old Trafford become increasingly limited in recent seasons – making 37 appearances in 2019/20, 18 appearances in 2020/21 and just 12 appearances last time out – the 41-cap international was one of the Red Devils’ most influential players in the four Premier League campaigns prior.

Indeed, the £160k-per-week Spaniard scored six goals, registered five assists and averaged a SofaScore match rating of 6.93 over 38 appearances in 2015/16, bagged six goals and then provided three assists and averaged a match rating of 7.11 over 25 fixtures in 2016/17.

Furthermore, he netted three strikes, supplied five assists and averaged a match rating of 7.09 over 28 outings in 2017/18 and scored three times, provided two assists and averaged a SofaScore match rating of 6.93 over 22 appearances in 2018/19.

As such, should Orta believe that Mata can replicate this level of form following a potential move to LS11 this summer, it is undeniable that the 34-year-old would be a huge asset in Marsch’s attacking arsenal ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign – not to mention an incredibly exciting player for the Whites faithful to watch in action at Elland Road week in week out next season.

AND in other news: Leeds could now seal “phenomenal” £34m signing after major development, Orta must act

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