United bid nearly €50m for Chelsea’s Juan Mata

Chelsea’s Spanish attacker expected to make the move to Man United before transfer window shuts

Juan Mata (left), seen here alongside Chelsea and Spain team-mate   Fernando Torres, may be wearing the red of Manchester United soon. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Juan Mata (left), seen here alongside Chelsea and Spain team-mate Fernando Torres, may be wearing the red of Manchester United soon. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Wed, Jan 22, 2014, 18:06

Manchester United have made a club record £40m (€48.85m) bid for the Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata.

The offer is understood to have been made through a third party, allowing United to stick with their stance of no official bid being made, which remains the case.

It is purely a case of semantics, though, with the transfer likely to be completed over the next few days – possibly in time for Mata to make his debut next week, when United host Cardiff on January 28th and visit Stoke on February 1st.

Mata is believed to have missed training on Wednesday and is said to have indicated to friends he is destined for Old Trafford, although Chelsea are yet to formally acknowledge the bid.

The capture of Mata would prove to United fans that their club is serious about addressing the sharp decline in fortunes since Alex Ferguson’s departure, even if it cannot guarantee the Champions League spot they crave.

For Mata, it would end a tortuous few months, in which he has left the Chelsea manager José Mourinho unimpressed and become increasingly marginalised, thereby enhancing his chances of making Spain’s World Cup squad.

Chelsea would bank a far larger fee than they could hope from Mata’s other suitors – Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain – and, while it would be unusual for them to sell to a fellow Premier League giant, Mourinho believes United are no longer a threat in this season’s competition.

Indeed, given that United have played Chelsea twice but must still encounter Arsenal and Manchester City in the run-in, it could be argued Mourinho is strengthening his own team’s position.

For Moyes, it can only be the start of what is sure to be an extensive rebuilding programme, with the Scot adamant he is not prepared to rush his work.

“I fully understand that supporters are keen to see us freshen up the squad with new faces, but January is a difficult month in which to bring people in,” Moyes said. “While we are actively scouting players all the time, a lot of the work we are doing now is preparation for the summer. If we can do any business now then we will certainly try to do it, but I will not compromise the standards required for a player that can come into this club and help improve it.”

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