The Spaniard is coming to the end of his contract at Old Trafford and Magpies are ready to swoop
Rafa Benitez wants to sign Juan Mata this summer – if he remains Newcastle United manager.
The Spaniard has yet to confirm whether he will stay at St James’ Park beyond this season but is making plans should he continue.
And, according to The Sun, one of his top targets is Mata.
The Spanish playmaker is out of contract at the end of June and has failed to agree a new deal.
The 31-year-old has been linked with a return to his native Spain but Newcastle are now planning to offer him the chance to remain in the Premier League.
Benitez is keen on a reunion with Mata from their days together at Chelsea.
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Benitez has urged Newcastle’s top brass to be more open-minded about signing players older than 26 and to start paying more competitive salaries.
So any pursuit of Mata, who earns around £140,000 a week at Old Trafford will give a clear idea about whether Benitez has got his own way or not.
Mata has made 218 appearances for United since moving to Old Trafford from Chelsea in 2014 but has not been a guaranteed starter in recent seasons.