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“Juan Mata could be a Manchester United player this month” [Mail on Sunday]

Bd9Bpk3CQAARAz8 Juan Mata could be a Manchester United player this month [Mail on Sunday] Its one of the oldest tabloid tricks in the book. On the eve of a big match, link a dissatisfied player on one team with the side they are playing, to boost circulation.

And so it has proved, with Rob Shepherd claiming in the Mail on Sunday today that Manchester United could sign Juan Mata in January.

The Spaniard is not in Jose Mourinho’s starting XI and is hugely unlikely to begin this afternoon’s match when Manchester United face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Mata has been linked with moves abroad to the likes of PSG and Napoli and it would be a major surprise if Chelsea would sell to another Premier League club.

According to Rob Shepherd in the Mail on Sunday: “Manchester United are considering a bid for Chelsea’s Juan Mata this month. And given that Chelsea don’t see United as title rivals this season then the Blues may yet cash in on a player who is not highly regarded by Jose Mourinho.”

Shepherd adds: “Chelsea may see it as a ‘sprat to catch a mackerel’ tactic in the sense it could pave the way for the Blues to land Wayne Rooney in the summer. An immediate Rooney-Mata swap deal could still happen but is unlikely. A Mata move to United this month though could be the catalyst for Rooney joining the Blues in summer.”

You almost feel sorry for Manchester United fans, who all know David Moyes needs to strengthen his side.

Another unrealistic target in Edinson Cavani was linked with Manchester United in another Sunday paper today.

Chelsea may not see Manchester United as title rivals this season but Mata is 25. Can the Blues really think United won’t challenge again in the next 5-7 years…

Juan Mata has scored three in three against Man United at Stamford Bridge, David Moyes will be hoping he doesn’t see the Spaniard on the pitch this afternoon…

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