Roma are serious about persuading Juan Mata that he should leave Manchester United for Serie A and will make an offer for the Spanish playmaker in January, according to the Daily Mail.
Mata has been dropped by Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal for United's last two matches, leading to strong rumours that the Dutchman will try to include the £140,000-a-week star in a swap deal for Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman when the transfer window reopens.
The Giallorossi value Strootman highly and will not entertain a deal under those terms, but that doesn't mean they've given up on Mata and believe they can sign him outright if frustration over a peripheral role at Old Trafford increases over the next three months.
Over the last 12 months Roma have undergone a complete transformation under the leadership of Rudi Garcia, now in a position to consistently improve a squad that has a very exciting blend of youth and experience.
Despite being out for nearly six months Strootman is still viewed as an absolutely essential part of that transition, which means United have almost no chance of persuading Roma they should do a straight swap deal to sign Mata.
Roma believe Strootman, Miralem Pjanic and the former Chelsea playmaker would be brilliant together in midfield and have the cash to back up that claim, although their wage structure would likely have to change to make this deal happen.
It's unclear whether United will put Mata up for sale in January at this stage, although it would be unsurprising if they did considering a plethora of options in that coveted attacking midfield position.
There will no shortage of suitors for Mata if they do, a player who David Moyes broke the bank to sign last January in a then club-record deal worth £37.1m.
It remains to be seen how Van Gaal handles this situation moving forward, but it's clear that Roma are very serious about signing Mata and will test his resolve with a formal offer in January as things stand.
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