By George Overhill

15th Jul, 2022 | 8:10am

Leeds United lose ground on controversial Juan Mata signing as talks span four countries

Leeds United are “not likely” to sign Juan Mata “as it stands” with the free agent in wide talks, according to Jonathan Shrager.

It emerged from Spain in AS on Wednesday (13 July) that the Whites were looking at signing the veteran playmaker after his release for Manchester United.

Due to the historic rivalry between the two English sides The Mirror reported that the 34-year-old “risked the wrath” of his former fans with the “controversial transfer”.

But it appears that Leeds are currently being bypassed by teams from Europe as journalist Shrager, who focuses on Old Trafford and has over 110,000 followers on Twitter, wrote on his account Thursday: “As it stands, Juan Mata to Leeds United is not likely”.

He then followed up with: Discussions are currently ongoing with clubs from Spain, Portugal and Italy for Juan Mata”.

Marca had reported that Victor Orta had held negotiations with the player’s father and offers from Leeds and Betis were what he was considering.

Wait

If Orta is out there and working directly to bring him in then this is a move that has quickly reached a level of seriousness that cannot be entirely dismissed.

Even the “as it stands” caveat in the latest report shows that it is a situation that is still subject to change, but Mata’s character is one that suggests he would not take the potential for upsetting former fans lightly.

That clearly could put a move to Elland Road at a disadvantage, and if Champions League football is on the table from any of the clubs who are in talks it might be the deciding factor.

The Spaniard won the competition when he was the star of the Chelsea team before he moved to Manchester, and similarly the chance to play out the latter years of his career back in his native Spain could be attractive.

But considering he was a genuine Premier League star in his short time at Stamford Bridge there is a sense of what might have been despite spending close to a decade at Old Trafford.

If he sees a chance to feature regularly in Jesse Marsch’s set up he might feel he has some unfinished business in England.

Whether his style of play fits in the American’s plans is up for more debate, but if it has got as far as an offer being made Marsch and Orta must have decided he does.

Against considerable competition this one seems like a long shot, but it can’t be written off yet.

In other Leeds United news, a European heavyweight it ready to sell an international attacker at a cut price and the Whites are at the front of the queue for him.