By George Overhill

8th Sep, 2022 | 8:10pm

Fabrizio Romano: Leeds United target Juan Mata to sign for Galatasaray

Leeds United target Juan Mata will sign for Galatasaray according to Fabrizio Romano in a move that probably should have been seen coming.

After leaving Manchester United when his contract ran out there was growing feeling, particularly in Spain, that the former Chelsea star was set to move to Elland Road, with MARCA reporting that Victor Orta was negotiating direct with the player’s father and had tabled a contract offer.

La Nueva Espana then reported in their 15 July print edition [page 46] that the race was set to be won by United, but while there does appear to be a link between the Mata family and the Leeds director of football, it is a favourite destination for veteran stars that has triumphed.

Romano wrote on his personal Twitter account on Thursday morning (8 September): “Juan Mata will land in Istanbul in the next hours in order to complete his move to Galatasaray.

“One year deal confirmed, he’s joining the Turkish club following Mauro Icardi.”

The fact that he joins just after the Argentine striker arrives from Paris Saint-Germain is almost the perfect signal that for whatever the hopes the Spanish playmaker might be set for a swan-song in West Yorkshire there was likely to be a more suitable destination.

For all the valid questions as to whether he would have been the right priority for Orta to be after, or the cost to the squad for a player who could surely command sizeable wages, he would have been a quality operator to see play in a Whites shirt.

An understated time at Old Trafford, where he was never really a key man despite coming in as Chelsea’s player of the year in both seasons there, made it easy to overlook how good he is.

Perhaps he would never have had the speed and mobility to be an option in Jesse Marsch’s set up from the start, but there are still few better at unlocking a defence with a key pass.

The Turkish giants are often where star players have success after the peaks of their careers, with former Stamford Bridge teammate Didier Drogba, and Wesley Sneijder some names who have haded to the Nef Stadyumu, while the likes of Robin van Persie and Nicolas Anelka have featured for Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce.

He will no doubt have success there, and while it might have been nostalgic to see the World Cup and European Championship winner laying on some assists at Elland Road the attacking midfield positions appear to be in good hands currently.

Rodrigo, Jack Harrison, Luis Sinisterra and Brenden Aaronson have been some of the stars of the new season so Marsch will likely not be too bothered to miss out on this one.

In other Leeds United news, another Champions League star has been named as a “great fit for Leeds” after the club previously held talks.