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Manchester United about to sign £37m playmaker, say strong reports

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Manchester United are close to wrapping up a £37m deal for Chelsea's Juan Mata, according to the Daily Telegraph.

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Laurence Griffiths

Manchester United will pay £37m to complete the transfer of Juan Mata from Chelsea, according to the Daily Telegraph.

The newspaper leads with the story on its back page tomorrow, claiming United will break their transfer record to sign the Spanish playmaker.

The Telegraph are usually a pretty reliable paper, in particular Mark Ogden, though it's not yet clear if the story is his. We'll post more details here when they emerge, which they should do in the next couple of hours.

So, how suitable will Mata be? He's been disappointing this season, and it's not clear where he'd play. His best position is behind the striker, but we have Wayne Rooney, Adnan Januzaj, Marouane Fellaini and Shinji Kagawa competing for that spot. He can also play on the wings, so Antonio Valencia is probably the most obvious choice to make way.

That would certainly improve us, although not as much as a proper midfielder would. Mata would probably be a better choice if he came through as one of several signings, but he'll still have plenty to offer us if he's our only signing this month. Particularly since he'll be putting in the effort to make a mark at his new club and get in Spain's World Cup plans.

UPDATE: United have now denied the bid, although the actual story has also come to light, which just claims we were set to make a bid, not that we'd actually made one. In other words, the denial doesn't contradict the initial story. Definitely a lot more to come on this.

UPDATE TWO: And now the Daily Mail have also gotten involved to claim that a deal could go ahead.

Of course, one potential knock-on effect is that Wayne Rooney could be heading to Chelsea as a result. Hmm...