Atletico Madrid are ready to test Manchester United's resolve to keep Juan Mata by making a player-plus-cash offer for the Spanish midfielder when the transfer window reopens in the summer.
According to the Sun on Sunday, the former Chelsea playmaker is being targeted by the reigning Spanish champions for a move to the Vicente Calderon at the end of the current campaign.
Diego Simeone is hoping the opportunity for the Red Devils to land long-term target Koke will convince manager Louis van Gaal to cash-in on the £37.1 million signing, who has struggled to cement a regular place in the team at Old Trafford.
Mata has not started in the Premier League since last month's 2-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers after being substituted at half-time at Loftus Road.
Goals from Marouane Fellaini and James Wilson secured all three points for Van Gaal's side, who currently occupy third place in the table and despite a disappointing start to the campaign are on course to qualify for the Champions League via a top four finish.
The 26-year-old's poor form for Manchester United can be blamed partly on the Dutch coach's continued preference to play him out of his preferred position on the left side of midfield.
“He has to make the runs on the left side," confirmed the 63-year-old ahead of Monday's FA Cup fifth round clash against League One outfit Preston North End at Deepdale. "That is more difficult for him. But at 10 he can play very good.”
Koke's ability to play in a much more fluid formation means that the Atletico star is perhaps better suited to Van Gaal's system, and could result in Mata's departure in a few months time.
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