Liverpool are once again being linked with a January transfer move for Juan Mata.

The Spanish winger has been linked with an Anfield move in the past, with the Mirror reporting in October 2009 that Liverpool were considering a £16.5 million switch for the player.

Despite the Merseyside outfit being under different management, new Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is also thought to be keen on the player. After being promised funds to spend in the January transfer window, a £17 million move appears to be a possibility in 2011.

Mata started his career with Real Madrid, but after failing to graduate from the Bernabeu B team the international moved to Valencia in March 2007.

The 22-year-old has become one of the jewels at the Mestalla, making well over 100 appearances for Los Che and earning a reputation as one of Europe's hottest properties.

Constant financial troubles at the La Liga club have left Mata's future constantly in question, and Liverpool are the latest club to potentially take advantage. Star striker David Villa was sold to Barcelona in the summer in an attempt to balance the books, and Mata could face a similar fate.

A left winger who can also play as a second striker or in 'the hole', Mata would add to the Reds' attacking options after a difficult start to the season.

Despite yesterday's (Sunday) win against Chelsea, injuries to Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt in the opening matches of the season exposed a thread-bare Liverpool attacking line.

Hodgson is keen to bolster his squad and avoid any other potential injury-crisis later in the season, and Liverpool will look to add quality in-depth.

Mata would almost certainly fit the bill, and Torres and Jose Reina could play a key role in enticing the player into a Premier League move. It would also please new owners NESV, who want to see young, attacking talent swell the Liverpool ranks.

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