Fernandes in cheeky Mata jibe as new Man Utd deal is confirmed

Robin Bairner
Juan Mata to decide own Man Utd future with contract set to expire next month

Bruno Fernandes has joked that Juan Mata is occupying the shirt number that he wants at Manchester United after the Spaniard signed a new one-year deal with the club.

Mata’s previous deal expired on 30 June, but Man Utd moved quickly to ensure that the former Chelsea midfielder will still be at Old Trafford next term.

Fernandes, though, sent a cheeky jibe in the direction of the 33-year-old.

“I guess I’ll have to wait for the No.8 another year,” he posted on Twitter. “Congrats brother!! Well deserved! An example and an inspiration on and off the pitch.”

Mata only played 18 times last season, in part due to personal circumstances, though he won the club’s Player of the Month award for October. Nevertheless, it is for his influence in the dressing room that Man Utd have largely fought to keep him at the club.

The World Cup winner’s influence on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s young, improving squad is invaluable and the manager continues to be a huge supporter of the fleet-footed Spaniard.
- Man Utd statement

Earlier in the day, United had released a statement confirming: “Manchester United is delighted to announce Juan Mata has agreed a one-year contract, keeping him at Old Trafford until June 2022.

“Mata has become one of the most popular players in recent United history and he is highly respected by all of his team-mates.

“The World Cup winner’s influence on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s young, improving squad is invaluable and the manager continues to be a huge supporter of the fleet-footed Spaniard.

“With a new one-year contract agreed and pre-season training about to start at Carrington, Juan is raring to go in what will be his ninth campaign at United.”

Grant earns new Man Utd deal

Meanwhile, there was also a new deal for veteran goalkeeper Lee Grant.

“I was always very, very hopeful that I could extend my stay for another year and thankfully the club have allowed me to do that,” he told Man Utd’s official website. “I'm really looking forward to the challenge of supporting the team, keeping myself going, as well as motivating others around me for another year.

“I think feeling valued and enjoying your role is huge, no matter what line of work you're in, and I'm obviously fortunate that I've got the opportunity to do that at such a wonderful club. I'm really looking forward to another year with the lads.”

Finally, Man Utd confirmed that academy player Reece Devine has been sent on loan to Scottish Premiership side St Johnstone for the duration of the season.