Atletico Madrid want Juan Mata in January but La Liga rules block a move

Atletico Madrid's already overspilling salary cap means any move for Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata appears futile.

Juan Mata must be getting fed up of new managers cramping his style. The Spaniard was let go by Jose Mourinho as he did not fit into the new system at Chelsea and now he finds himself in a similar position at Manchester United.

After being dropped for the recent 5-3 defeat against Leicester, and not exactly impressing when he did enter the game, rumours have begun circulating that Louis van Gaal could let Mata go this winter to bring in a more functional midfielder - a Kevin Strootman type perhaps.

And one team who are known to be admirers of his talents are Atletico Madrid, the current La Liga champions.

Los Colchoneros are said to have kept tabs on Mata since his grievances at Chelsea first became apparent and Diego Simeone believes he is perfect to add a little creativity to their largely pragmatic squad.

As reported by El Mundo Deportivo Atletico are eyeing up both Mata and Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado for the January transfer window.

However the report also explains why Atletico cannot get their hands on either player as things currently stand. Atletico have already breached the Spanish league's rules on wage bills. Despite selling the likes of Diego Costa and Filipe Luis this summer the club have also signed Antoine Griezmann, Mario Mandzukic and Alessio Cerci among others, as well as handing new improved deals to several first-team regulars. That means the wage bill is still extremely high at the Vicente Calderon.

The club would therefore need to sell someone from their already thin squad - with Uruguayan Cristian Rodriguez the most likely culprit - before even contemplating a move for Mata, and even then they would struggle to stay under the threshold.

It would seem that this rumour has been shot down almost as soon as it emerged. Atletico will simply not be able to sign Mata in January unless they sell at least two players from their current crop, which looks a highly unlikely scenario.

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