VALENCIA are hoping to make a January move to sign Manchester United star Juan Mata.
The Spanish international’s future at Old Trafford is growing increasingly uncertain with the impending arrival of Alexis Sanchez to the club.
Mata, 29, is out of contract at United at the end of the season and the club have still not decided whether to activate the one year option on his deal.
That leaves the playmaker potentially able to leave the club on a free transfer in the summer – a situation United would be keen to avoid.
And the Star say Valencia are now plotting making a transfer window attempt to take Mata back to the club where he started his professional career.
Valencia are just three points adrift of Atletico Madrid in La Liga, and know a Champions League place is up for grabs if they maintain their form over the second half of the season.
And Mata would add an excellent creative edge to the current squad if the club are able to tempt United into doing business.
With just five months left to run on his current contract, United know they will not be able to charge a big fee for the man the signed for £37.1million from Chelsea four years ago.
If they take up their option it would increase their bargaining power in the transfer market, but Mata has been such a good servant to the club there is also a feeling they do not want to block his career.
He has made 25 appearances for United in all competitions this season, but tends to be a substitute when Jose Mourinho settles on his strongest side.
And with Sanchez expected to complete his move to Old Trafford tomorrow, that provides further competition for a role in the side.
Mata is settled in Manchester and recently opened a restaurant in the city with his family.
But he is also at the stage of his career where he needs to be playing regular football – and that is becoming increasingly difficult at Old Trafford.