Juan Mata
Jose Mourinho has now reportedly sanctioned the sale of Juan Mata, Reuters

Juan Mata’s proposed transfer to Manchester United has taken a significant step closer, with the player missing training at Chelsea on Wednesday on the back of widespread reports that there has now been a formal bid from Old Trafford.

BBC Sport are among the sources to claim that an offer of £35 million has been made for the Spain international, who it appears Jose Mourinho is now ready to let leave. While Mourinho has repeatedly insisted that Mata remains in his plans, Chelsea’s Player of the Year for the past two seasons has seen his role greatly diminished this campaign, starting just half of the club’s Premier League fixtures.

However, Chelsea are thought to still be looking to increase their return on a player who they signed from Valencia in 2011 for £23.5 million. ESPN, citing sources close to both clubs, believe Chelsea are after £42 million.

Although Chelsea would clearly prefer to sell Mata outside of the Premier League, with interest mooted from both Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, the player’s first choice is thought to be Old Trafford, while Manchester United have been most vociferous in their pursuit. Given that Chelsea have already played Manchester United twice this season, while United still have to play Chelsea’s title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal, the concern of strengthening a domestic rival is diminished, at least in the short term.

When the idea of Mata moving to Manchester United was first mooted in the summer, it was discussed as part of a potential swap deal involving Wayne Rooney moving in the other direction. While that is thought be something that still appeal to Chelsea, there is little prospect of it happening this month.

Yet, according to ESPN, United are now beginning to accept that Rooney will not extend his contract, which has just 18 months left to run, and they will be compelled to sell him this summer. It is likely that Chelsea would then renew their interest, with it looking increasingly unlikely that a striker will arrive at Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window.

One of the forwards who Chelsea have been regularly linked with is Porto’s Jackson Martinez. The Colombia international has scored prolifically since his move to Portugal 18 months ago, leading to interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs. However, Porto have refused to listen to offers that do not meet the 27-year-old’s release clause of €40 million (£32.8m). And it now appears that Porto are set to renew Martinez’s contract, according to his agent Luis Manuel Manso.

"It is all well and the agreement is clear,” he told Radio Renascenca, reports Talksport.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror speculates that Chelsea could renew their interest in Internazionale center-back Andrea Ranocchia. The Italy international was thought to be close to a move to Borussia Dortmund, however the two clubs have thus far been unable to agree a fee, reports Italian website TuttoMercato.

A new center-back would not appear to be a major priority for Chelsea currently, unless there are substance to reports that David Luiz will exit for Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

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