The prospective transfer of Juan Mata to Manchester United and £37m to Chelsea would be the most significant in-house Premier League deal since Arsenal ratified Robin van Persie's £22.25m switch to Manchester United and, while no official bid had been lodged - as reported by BBC earlier today, Tuesday - La Liga expert and Sky Sports journalist Guillem Balague has informed fans of both clubs that they can expect one in the future.
United deny that an offer has been made for Mata... as yet. An offer will be made though.— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 21, 2014
Mata condition to leave was that the club had to tell him he could leave— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 21, 2014
On Monday Night Football recently, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher both discussed the pros and cons of any United approach for the 25-year-old attack-minded midfielder who, in 826 minutes of inconsistent Premier League football this season, has still managed to return a chance-creating pass every 27 minutes on average.
Both pundits and ex professionals agreed that £37m may well be an exorbitant sum, especially when United would be loathe to change their footballing philosophy or overhaul their preferred formation in order to accommodate a single player.
Carragher even put forth an argument that, considering the value, Mata would have to feature regularly in Moyes' line-up if he did swap allegiances but, in order to maximise his talent, he must be fielded in the hole behind the striker, leaving one of Wayne Rooney or Robin van Persie surplus to requirements.
Balague, though, believes this may be a misrepresentation of Mata as the Spaniard, he claims, is versatile and can be equally effective in three forward positions.
Mata can play as 7, 10 or 11 for United. Will add quality to a team that needs it. As Mourinho is happy to let him go, I see him at United— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 21, 2014
image: © Ben Sutherland