Transfer news: Manchester United resist Atletico Madrid efforts and close in on Juan Mata - reports
Premier League rivals set to agree a fee for Juan Mata as United resist Atlético attempts to scupper the deal
Wednesday 22 January 2014
Manchester United are reportedly set to overcome fervent efforts from Atlético Madrid to hijack their £40m-plus move for Juan Mata by concluding a club-record deal for the Chelsea playmaker by the weekend.
Atlético, level on points with La Liga leaders Barcelona, are supposedly prepared to offer United manager David Moyes first option to sign seventeen-goal Diego Costa and Brazilian full-back Filipe Luís in return for withdrawing their interest in the Spaniard.
United have, however, been encouraged by news that Chelsea may accept any offer which breaks the £40m mark - despite Jose Mourinho's hesitance to sell to a Premier League rival - and are close to agreeing a fee with the Stamford Bridge club.
The move represents a dangerous move by Moyes as the former Everton manager threatens to damage his chances of signing both Costa and Luís if he pushes through with his intentions to sign Mata but the situation is hurtling towards critical-point at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have slipped out of the FA Cup in the third round, lie fourteen points adrift of Premier League leaders Arsenal and are 2-1 behind in their two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final clash with strugglers Sunderland.
As of last night, an official bid was yet to have been submitted but Chelsea officials are expecting developments today and intermediaries are hopeful of a breakthrough.
After already playing United twice this season, the Blues are likely to consider selling the 25-year-old to the reigning champions as a shrewd piece of business in the hope that Mata will help United take points from their title-rivals.
Meanwhile Mourinho has recently warned his rivals that owner Roman Abramovich is keen to part with a considerable transfer outlay should the proposed Financial Fair Play rules fail to be enforced.
"Our owner is still the same owner and his passion for football is still the same. If we are free to spend our owner is more than happy to be free to spend," he said.
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