One of the most curious and enduring transfer sagas of the current season finally appears to be approaching its inevitably ugly conclusion this month.
Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata, unquestionably the Blues' best player prior to the start of the current campaign, has endured a difficult few months.
Previously a darling of the Stamford Bridge faithful, he has seen his role radically diminished this season as Jose Mourinho has opted to prioritise gifted Brazilian starlet Oscar in the vital 'no.10' role.
While he has appeared to react to such a change with admirable professionalism and decorum up until recently, the diminutive Spaniard's frustrations eventually boiled over with a furious reaction to being hauled off in the second half of the New Year's Day win against Southampton at St. Mary's.
Since that aforementioned incident, transfer rumours involving a potential switch away from Chelsea for Mata have resurfaced once again - particularly with Mourinho himself having conceded that his door is open if the player wants to leave.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Premier League champions Manchester United were on alert for Mata following the events surrounding the Chelsea midfielder.
Such reports cast considerable doubt on whether Chelsea would be willing to do business with a Premier League rival, but also suggested that perhaps they could be convinced to do so if they received a striker in return - in Manchester United's case, this is likely to be Javier Hernandez.
In my opinion, this is something that Manchester United should endeavour to do. Given the struggles endured by the underwhelming Premier League champions in midfield this season, Mata would be a tremendous addition who, providing he was able to successfully recover from his infuriating recent spell, is head and shoulders above anything the Red Devils currently possess in midfield.
Hernandez, who has forged a reputation as somewhat of a fan's favourite with his bright substitute appearances and is reportedly valued at around the £15 million mark, is undoubtedly an asset for Manchester United.
However, once Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie become fully fit once again he is likely to re-take his seat on the bench. It is obviously important to have strength in depth, yes, but at 26-years-of age and with a World Cup on the horizon, surely there will come a stage in the near future when the affable Mexican will no longer be content with his own bit-part role.
It is, of course, very possible indeed that an offer of Hernandez in addition to an unspecified amount of cash still would not be enough to convince Mourinho that it would be a wise decision to allow Mata to join Manchester United
However, with Chelsea evidently needing to dramatically upgrade their striking unit given the repeatedly limited displays offered up in front of goal by Demba Ba, Fernando Torres and Samuel Eto'o and the club also seemingly struggling to make any significant headway in their pursuit of a new striker, it is surely a deal that they would be foolish to dismiss outright.
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