Transfer bin: Barcelona eye €45m United star as possible Fabregas replacement

Manchester United star Juan Mata has become a transfer target for Barcelona as a possible replacement for Cesc Fabregas.

Barcelona are eyeing a summer of change at the Nou Camp following a disappointing campaign which ended without any major trophies.

There has been talk in Barcelona that the fabulous cycle which has wielded masses of success is now officially over, and that the Catalans are now preparing to build a new team to challenge once more.

According to the Spanish press AS, one player they have in mind is former transfer target Juan Mata.

The 26-year-old Manchester United playmaker has always been watched carefully by Barcelona, and he was said to be close to joining the club from Valencia before opting to move to Chelsea in 2011.

The Spanish international then enjoyed a fruitful spell at Stamford Bridge, before the return of former boss Jose Mourinho cast doubts over his future in West London.

Spanish paper AS say that Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta contacted the Blues over Mata’s availability when it became obvious he wasn’t a part of Mourinho’s plans, but the Red Devils were more economically willing, and therefore concluded a dramatic £37.1m transfer deal.

Despite United’s struggles, Juan Mata performed admirably, scoring six goals and assisting a further four in 14 Premier League starts for the club.

According to the report, Juan Mata’s short time in Manchester could be under threat as Barcelona are willing to test their resolve for the €45m-rated man as they look for alternatives for under-fire midfielder Cesc Fabregas.

The former Arsenal star has been at wars with the Nou Camp crowd this season, and a number of rumours have circled over the past week suggesting that the Spanish international could be on his way out – with Man United and Arsenal named as a possible destination.

Such a deal, however, seems fanciful to say the least. Not only has Juan Mata been at Manchester United for just six months, the likelihood that new boss Luis Enrique will depart with Fabregas - and later swap him with a player similar in mould - is extremely unlikely.

Manchester United, likewise, would have no desire in allowing Juan Mata to leave after forking out the huge sums of money to bring him to Old Trafford, and with the Spaniard alongside Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney already capable of playing in the playmaker role, why would they target another in Fabregas?

Rubbish rating: United boss Louis Van Gaal will want to make Juan Mata one of his star players next season, whereas Barcelona at this moment in time have far bigger worries with their defence than a nonsensical bid for the former Chelsea playmaker.

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