Manchester United look increasingly likely to replace Paris Saint-Germain-bound Angel Di Maria with Barcelona forward Pedro, if you believe everything printed in the Manchester Evening News.
It’s a move both the Red Devils and the player are allegedly hankering for, as Louis van Gaal looks to recalibrate his frontline following the departures of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.
Wayne Rooney, the man expected to spearhead the club’s attack next season, doesn’t possess the pace to spring offside traps, nor the aerial prowess to feast off crosses.
But what the skipper does stock, among other things, is superb technical ability, prompting him to go in search of the ball, as opposed to waiting for it to come to him.
This willingness to wander will occupy defenders, leaving space for quick wide players to exploit and few present-day players have proved themselves better than Pedro in this field.
The Spaniard has the required speed and finishing acumen to flourish in the role from the right, with Memphis Depay playing the same part off the left flank, but whose Man Utd minutes are likely to be compromised by the Tenerife-born star’s potential arrival?
Pedro’s countryman played some of his finest football in a United jersey on the right of a front three, but he isn’t renowned for his fleet footedness, nor his ability to prosper in a deeper role.
However, this is exactly where he’d have to move in order to retain his place in the team.
Ander Herrera, a favourite of Van Gaal who scored six and assisted four as he grew into the deep-lying playmaker’s role in the Red Devils side last term, is the present occupant of the sole central, creative berth.
The Spanish schemer orchestrates from a position too deep to be considered a ‘number ten’ role, widely recognised to be Mata’s best position.
Chelsea’s two-time player of the year found himself ostracized at Stamford Bridge after displeasing Jose Mourinho with his substandard work ethic.
This perceived unwillingness to apply the elbow grease suggests Mata would be ill-suited to a deeper position in the United side, while his slight frame wouldn’t fare well in a midfield skirmish either.