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Manchester United keen on Juan Mata

ESPN staff
August 23, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Juan Mata © PA Photos
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Manchester United have made an informal inquiry to Chelsea about the possibility of bringing Juan Mata to Old Trafford this transfer window, sources from both clubs have told ESPN.

It is unknown at this point whether the contact has been part of the ongoing Wayne Rooney saga, or whether United would be open to a long-mooted straight swap between the players, just that their interest has been piqued and they believe a deal could be possible.

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Word from Chelsea throughout the summer has been that Mata is simply not for sale, and he is understood to be one of owner Roman Abramovich's three favourite players at Stamford Bridge.

An undercurrent of the summer, however, has been that manager Jose Mourinho is not as keen on Mata. Although he is fully prepared to use him as one of the primary attacking players in his starting line-up, Mourinho is said to think that off-loading Mata may not be the worst decision if it ensured strengthening elsewhere - especially up front.

Chelsea's reported interest in Anzhi Makhachkala's Willian has only added to the uncertainty.

It is also understood that Romelu Lukaku had been broached as a potential makeweight in any deal for Rooney, but his exit from Chelsea seems exceptionally unlikely. Similarly, United's stance remains the same: Rooney is not for sale.

United remain relaxed about eventually bringing in Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines from Everton before the end of window, but their pursuit of Luka Modric has stalled. Carlo Ancelotti sees the midfielder as a key player for Real Madrid this season, with that only accentuated by Xabi Alonso's metatarsal injury.

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