Manchester United have made an informal inquiry to Chelsea about the possibility of bringing Juan Mata to Old Trafford during the summer transfer window, sources from both clubs have told ESPN.
It is unknown whether the contact has been part of the ongoing Wayne Rooney saga or whether the English champions would be open to a straight swap of the players, but they believe a deal could be possible.
Word from Chelsea throughout the summer has been that Mata is not for sale, and he is understood to be one of owner Roman Abramovich's three favourite players at Stamford Bridge.
An undercurrent of the summer, however, has been that Blues boss Jose Mourinho is not as keen on the Spanish playmaker. Although Mousinho is fully prepared to use him as one of the primary attacking players in his first-choice XI, he is said to think that offloading Mata may not be the worst decision if it ensured strengthening elsewhere -- especially up front.
Chelsea’s reported interest in Anzhi Makhachkala's Willian has only added to the uncertainty.
It is also understood Romelu Lukaku had been broached as a potential makeweight in any deal for Rooney, but his exit from Chelsea seems unlikely. Meanwhile, United's stance remains the same: Rooney is not for sale.
The Old Trafford club remain relaxed about eventually bringing in Marouane Fellaini and Leighton Baines from Everton before the end of the window, but their pursuit of Luka Modric has stalled. Carlo Ancelotti sees the midfielder as a key player for Real Madrid this season, with that feeling accentuated by Xabi Alonso's metatarsal injury.