Chelsea insisted that Mata is not for sale after the Spanish player was linked with a player plus money swap for Rooney, but if they hope to sign Rooney it could depend on Mata’s movement.
It is believed that Jose Mourinho isn’t too keen with the attacker, named Chelsea’s player of the year last season, so a swap involving him with or without money added could finally see Chelsea get Rooney and United end their association with the striker after 9 years.
Miguel Delaney of ESPN claims sources from both clubs have confirmed United’s move for Mata to him, but insists that United’s move is not necessarily linked with Chelsea’s interest in Rooney:
“It is unknown at this point whether the contact has been part of the ongoing Wayne Rooney saga, or whether the English champions 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.”
Whilst an extremely talented player, the signing of Mata would not address any of the problems United’s team currently have. Overloaded with players in attacking positions, if coupled with Rooney’s departure, the 25 year old’s arrival could spell trouble for Shinji Kagawa who would preferably occupy the #10 position that Rooney does.
A quality player nonetheless, is Mata the star signing that Moyes seeks before finally agreeing to let Rooney go as The Daily Mirror claimed yesterday? It would not only mean United backing down from their summer long stance that Rooney is not for sale, but potentially handing rivals Chelsea a title race changing player.
For me this is a transfer that David Moyes and Manchester United need to think over carefully because as it stands with Chelsea needing a striker, Rooney will make more of a difference to their season than Mata will to Manchester United’s.