Manchester United have been linked with a move for Inter Milan’s Joao Mario and may attempt to use Juan Mata as a makeweight for the transfer in January, according to reports.
ESPN say that Jose Mourinho is interested in his compatriot, who he sees as an ideal back-up for Paul Pogba. Interestingly they also say that Mata is concerned about getting a place in Spain’s World Cup squad next summer and may feel a move, and more first team football, may be beneficial to his chances.
The report says:
Jose Mourinho is aiming to swap one of his best players to trigger a squad overhaul, reports Corriere dello Sport, with Juan Mata potentially on his way out.
The Spaniard has found himself in and out of Mourinho’s best XI, meaning he may look for a move in order to make a late dash for the Spain national team at the World Cup.
Mourinho wants to swap Mata with Inter Milan for Joao Mario, who is out of favour under Luciano Spalletti at the San Siro.
While it does seem fair to say Mata is not exactly first choice at United, he has proven his worth to the squad at a time when his position was questioned due to the fact that Mourinho sold him when the pair were at Chelsea.
It seems unlike the Luke Shaw situation, where Jose Mourinho appears to be inflating the player’s value in order to strengthen potential negotiations elsewhere.
Mario cost Inter Milan €40 million when he moved to Italy last summer but has only started four games this season, though he did start and play the full game in Inter’s 5-0 win over Chievo at the weekend. The midfielder – who is more defensive than Pogba, so most definitely not a like-for-like replacement – has his own ambitions of a World Cup place.