Real Madrid Plans On Taking Manchester United Star For Free in January

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, London, November 5. GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty

Real Madrid wants to sign Juan Mata from Manchester United for free in January as the Spaniard's contract expires at the end of the season, according to reports.

Mata is one of the many players at Old Trafford who has just over six months to run on their contract. He is joined by Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Ashley Young.

Madrid is planning on taking advantage of that situation by offering 29-year-old Mata a move to the Spanish capital at the end of the season, according to the Daily Express.

Mata has played regularly for United this season, making 12 appearances, but has benefitted from the number of injuries the squad has suffered. Many expected him to leave Old Trafford when Jose Mourinho was appointed manager last summer after he criticized and sold Mata while at Chelsea.

Having spent four years at Valencia, Mata does have experience of the Spanish La Liga, and he even has knowledge of the Real Madrid system.

Related: Has Jose Mourinho already given up on Manchester United?

The Spain international began his career in the Real Madrid academy and featured 39 times for the B team before leaving for Valencia.

Meanwhile, Madrid has also shown even greater ambition in the transfer market, for a player who would certainly not be joining for free. On Tuesday, reports in Spain suggested the Real President Florentino Perez has already been in talks with Neymar's father about a move for the Brazilian.

Neymar only completed his world-record £199 million (about $262 million) move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain a little over three months ago, but Real is already making a move.

Neymar has shown why PSG was willing to pay such a huge sum for him this summer, having scored 11 goals in 12 appearances for the Ligue 1 giant. And it has attracted the interest of Real, which is planning for life after Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese forward, who turns 33 in February, has had a relatively slow start to the new season by his exceptionally high standards. Ronaldo has scored just one goal in La Liga for Real which is third in the table, eight points behind leader Barcelona.