Manchester United are close to a club record £37 million deal to sign Juan Mata from Chelsea according to The Telegraph, who have boldly ran with a full page splash for the front page of their sport supplement. The Telegraph aren’t renowned for running with big transfer stories like this, especially on the front page.
Mata has been forced out of Chelsea’s starting XI by Jose Mourinho who has made it abundantly clear that he prefers the trio of Oscar, Hazard and Willian ahead of the Spaniard, despite the fact he has been named their Player of the Year for the past two years.
The 25-year-old was linked with a swap deal in the summer with Wayne Rooney but nothing materialised as Rooney remained at Old Trafford but now that he isn’t happy with his situation in Chelsea, Mata would likely be happy to look at other options in this World Cup year.
Everyone has said that Moyes’ reign needed a marquee signing to kick it into gear and Mata would be precisely that. What a signing he’d be. The prospect of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Adnan Januzaj, Shinji Kagawa and Mata in the same side is mouthwatering.
Of course, the deal would be far from simple and there is every possibility that any deal could see Rooney go the other way in the summer which is a frightening prospect.
Looking at it from a United perspective, it would be difficult to see Mourinho selling any player to United. However, at this stage in the season, could it be a move that would help Chelsea just as much as it would United?
In reality, our title challenge looks as strong as a limp noodle right now and Chelsea know that. Maybe they would give us Mata in January so that we would then be stronger against the teams around them as we have already played Chelsea twice. Optimistic yes, but not out of the realm of possibility.
If you’re looking for another reason it will happen, it could go some way to explain why Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill were shaking hands with Roman Abramovich on the pitch on Sunday.
It’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of signing Juan, no matter how much the fee is.