Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has emerged as a shock transfer target for Serie A giants Juventus, who believe that huge competition for places at Old Trafford could create the circumstances for them to sign the Spanish playmaker on loan in January.
Mata has started in both of United's Premier League games under the guidance of Louis van Gaal, but with Angel di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao all arriving at Old Trafford in the last seven days it remains to be seen if the £37.1m man will keep his place over the next four months.
Juve are hoping Mata gets forced out and will offer him an escape route if he's unhappy with the situation at United when the transfer window reopens, according to Tuttosport.
Juve clearly believe that Van Gaal might view Mata as dispensable as he tried to find a way to fit Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Falcao and Di Mata into the same system and stop United leaking goals at the other end.
Van Gaal has proven time and time again during a long managerial career at the highest level that no player in untouchable, so United's massive January outlay to sign Mata including a reported £140,000-a-week-plus pay packet will not sway his thinking in the slightest.
The Dutch tactician has a strong relationship with Van Persie, made Rooney captain and bought Falcao, Ander Herrera, Di Maria and Daley Blind, so it's understandable that Mata's situation is already under question.
Could Vidal feature in a potential deal?
Mata at full tilt in his preferred number 10 role is a fantastic playmaker and still has a special place in the hearts of Chelsea fans, but that won't save him if performances aren't up to standard over the next four months.
Tuttosport make no mention of long-term Man United target Arturo Vidal in their report concerning Juve interest in Mata today, but with the Chilean still struggling with knee injuries its reasonable to suggest the Old Lady may try and work out some kind of swap deal in a cash-plus-player deal.
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