United 'make 40m move for Mata'

Manchester United have made a 40million bid for Chelsea's Juan Mata through a third party, according to reports on Wednesday.

Neither club have confirmed the offer but the playmaker missed training on Wednesday and it appears that the first move has been made in what would be one of the biggest transfers of the season.

Deals of this magnitude are seldom completed without complications and the indications are that intermediaries are being allowed to make the running in negotiations before matters are made official.

All parties are keen for the transfer to go through, according to Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Guilleme Balugue, and there has been speculation that a medical will take place before the weekend.

United need a filip in a disappointing season and the signing of Mata - which is likely break the club's transfer record - would be a serious statement of intent.

Chelsea are understood to be happy to sell as manager Jose Mourinho has too many attacking players in his squad and prefers other options to Mata.

The club would also make a significant profit on a player who they signed for 23.5million from Valencia in 2011.

For Mata the transfer would give him an opportunity for much more playing time with the World Cup in Brazil looming this summer.

However, transfers between Chelsea and Manchester United in either direction are few and far between and the Premier League's top clubs prefer not to sell to direct rivals.