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Juan Mata misses Chelsea training, according to reports

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So this looks like it's happening.

Shaun Botterill

It's now pretty obvious that Manchester United's link with Juan Mata is way beyond the 'rumour' phase, with the Spaniard absent from Chelsea's training ground at Cobham today, according to several reports containing apparent photographic evidence.

The Daily Mail are reporting that the the playmaker's representatives flew in today, with earlier rumours that United were hoping to complete the deal by the end of the week looking correct.

There's no doubt that the £37 million fee is on the hefty side, though at last United look like they're going to land a player of genuine, proven quality. Mata will definitely provide a much-needed morale boost and some creativity in the centre of United's attacking band, even if his signing alone won't be enough to patch up the problems deeper in midfield.

Optimism and excitement -- what very peculiar emotions. Let's just hope United don't manage to mess this one up too ...