Manchester United have tabled a club-record bid for Chelsea’s out-of-favour attacking midfielder Juan Mata, according to reports in the British media.
Several media outlets, including the BBC, claimed that United have used intermediaries to make an offer worth around STG35 million ($A66 million), which would exceed the STG30.75 million they paid Tottenham Hotspur for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.
Mata, 25, was voted Chelsea’s player of the year in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge, but he has fallen down the pecking order following Jose Mourinho’s return to the club as manager last year.
United have not publicly confirmed the bid and Chelsea have not acknowledged it, but Mata is believed to have missed a scheduled training session with the London club on Wednesday.
United manager David Moyes has also admitted that his club have not ruled out moving for players during the January transfer window.
Writing in the match-day programme ahead of United’s League Cup semi-final second leg at home to Sunderland on Wednesday, he said: “While we are actively scouting players all the time, a lot of the work we are doing now is preparation for the summer.
“If we can do any business now then we will certainly try to do it, but I will not compromise the standards required for a player who can come into this club and help improve it.”
Moyes is bidding to arrest a startling decline in United’s fortunes since he succeeded Alex Ferguson as manager last year.
The reigning English champions were knocked out of the FA Cup in the third round by Swansea City and are currently 14 points behind leaders Arsenal in the Premier League.