Manchester United should make £8m bid for Liverpool target

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Football News

Undoubtedly the biggest story of a surprisingly muted January transfer window to date has developed rather rapidly in recent days, with Manchester United reportedly preparing an offer of £37 million for Spanish playmaker Juan Mata.

The former Valencia man has seen his role diminish at Stamford Bridge under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho, and it appears as if he is rather frustrated as a result.

Now while I believe that Mata, unquestionably Chelsea's best player of recent seasons, would be an absolutely tremendous signing for David Moyes, such a move (and I remain extremely skeptical that Chelsea will allow him to depart in such circumstances) alone would not be enough to restore them to their previous standing and catapult them back into the title conversation.

Rather, Manchester United, who were brushed aside with humiliating ease by Jose Mourinho's side on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, require immediate strengthening in several different areas - in both attack and defence.

Yesterday, it was reported that Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, after lengthy discussions with the club's American owners, had been given the green light to make a formal bid of £8 million for FC Basel winger Mohamed Salah.

The player - who has been dubbed the 'Egyptian Messi' by some in honour of his effortlessly silky skills - is reportedly rated at around the £14 million mark by his club, yet it is believed that Liverpool are banking on the Swiss champions listening to the pleas of Salah himself.

Personally, I have spoken extensively in this very space about Salah's superb ability, and indeed his potential suitability in terms of a move to Manchester United. While the Red Devils were briefly linked with the Egypt international in early December, next to nothing suggesting that a move of that nature could be on the cards appears to have surfaced since.

If it is indeed true that Basel could be tempted into parting with their most-prized asset for as little as just £8 million then Manchester United simply must enter the bidding at such a stage.

Even if Moyes is, by some magnificent stroke of luck, able to persuade Mata to join the ranks at Old Trafford, it is surely unlikely that, after being shifted into a largely unfamiliar wider role under Mourinho, he will accept anything other than a place in the traditional 'no.10' role behind the striker/s.

With that in mind, with or without Mata, Manchester United will require an urgent upgrade in the wide areas. While the hugely promising figure of Adnan Januzaj is proving a solitary shining light during an otherwise gloomy season under Moyes, the trio of Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Nani remain so frustratingly inconsistent and continue to largely disappoint when given their respective opportunities.

Salah, although obviously yet to really prove his mettle in one of the so-called 'big' European leagues, has showcased his talent on arguably the biggest club stage of them all in the Champions League - even keeping his composure to score not one but two winning goals against Chelsea in this year's group stage.

He is evidently blessed with frightening pace, a real eye for goal and brilliant technique that would surely see him pose an instantly menacing threat to full-backs across the Premier League.

If it transpires that it will take an amount in excess of £8 million, then Manchester United would perhaps be wise to bide their time and explore alternative, and perhaps more experienced, options for now.

However, if Basel are willing to deal at such a low price, then Manchester United should make a bid of their own - they would be foolish not to, given their current predicament.

What do they have to lose?

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