Sport Soccer

Monday 18 December 2017

United consider £40m swoop for Mata to boost top-four chances

London Daily Telegraph

Last Friday Mourinho was emphatic that Mata would not be allowed to leave Chelsea this month, replying with a simple "no" when asked whether he would let him go.

Nevertheless Mata has become increasingly unsettled at Chelsea at his lack of first-team opportunities but Mourinho will only allow him to go if he can bolster his squad.

Mata was signed by Chelsea in August 2011 with the club paying Valencia £23.5m. He has won the club's Player of the Year award for the past two seasons and was named in the PFA team of the year for 2012-13. However, Mata has struggled to adapt to the style of play that Mourinho has been demanding and if he does not leave this month he appears set to go in the summer.

Meanwhile, Moyes is planning a personal scouting mission this week to watch Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Patrick Herrmann against European champions Bayern Munich.

With United facing a blank weekend following FA Cup elimination against Swansea City earlier this month, Moyes is preparing to fly out to watch the 22-year-old in Friday's Bundesliga clash at Borussia Park.

Moyes has yet to add to his United squad during the January transfer window but with the Scot determined to approach the summer window with a list of attainable targets, Herrmann has emerged as an alternative to Marco Reus, whose escape clause at Borussia Dortmund cannot be triggered until 2015.

Herrmann, who has represented Germany at every level below the senior team, is regarded as a rising star in the Bundesliga and a key factor in Monchengladbach's title challenge this season.

The attacking midfielder earned his first senior call-up to Joachim Low's full squad for the World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan last March.

Moyes will also monitor Max Kruse, Monchengladbach's Germany striker, with Bayern defender Dante also likely to be assessed because of uncertainty the Brazilian's future at the Allianz Arena.

United are also understood to be willing to risk losing Wayne Rooney for nothing in 2015 despite preparing for a possible Europa League campaign next season.

The nightmare scenario of missing out on the Champions League has prompted the club to delay confirmation of a summer tour of the United States because of possible qualifying-round commitments in the Europa League at the end of July.

Any failure to secure a top-four finish would increase the uncertainty surrounding Rooney's future at the club, with Chelsea already planning to test United's resolve with a move for the player, having had two bids rejected last summer.

Rooney is entering the final 12 months of his £250,000-a-week contract this summer but, while the prospect of playing in the Europa League is unlikely to accelerate any decision on Rooney's part to commit to a new deal, it is understood that the club's determination not to sell the England forward will remain unchanged.

Rooney would be almost certain to be part of the conversation if United were to make any move for Mata, however, having seen Liverpool hold onto Luis Suarez last summer, despite strenuous efforts by the player and Arsenal to force a transfer to the Emirates Stadium, United regard Rooney as being just as crucial to the club's hopes of success next season as Suarez has been to Liverpool's this term. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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