Football

Lightning Strikes Twice As Juan Mata Heads For Old Trafford Exit

Lightning Strikes Twice As Juan Mata Heads For Old Trafford Exit

Perhaps the only figure on the red side of Manchester not particularly delighted with Jose Mourinho's appointment at Old Trafford, with the possible exception of Ryan Giggs, is Juan Mata.

Mata was coming off his second successive player of the year award at Chelsea when Mourinho arrived for his second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge and was quickly deemed surplus to requirements by the Portuguese boss. Lightning, it seems, has struck twice and with the news that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been awarded the #8 jersey previously inhabited by the Spaniard, it seems that once again Jose Mourinho will once again usher him towards the exit door.

According to quite a few reports in England today, Everton are looking like the most likely destination at this point and, with their newfound wealth, they wouldn't be put off by the rumoured £20 million fee. New Everton boss Ronald Koeman is a known fan of Mata too, having worked with him at Valencia early in Mata's career.

Mata looks like he might be joined in the new look Toffees side by Axel Witsel, after rumours of a £30 million being agreed with the Belgian's Russian club Zenit St Petersburg.

And of course Everton fans will have the distinct pleasure of seeing much more of Darron Gibson next season following his signing of a new contract last month.

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Elsewhere, Wales striker Hal Robson-Kanu apparently has the best agent in world football and is wanted "by clubs all over the world" after his goal against Belgium despite recording just five goals for Reading in the Championship last season.

Robson-Kanu isn't the only Welshman who could be on the move, with Liverpool and Swansea said to be bickering over the price of Joe Allen. Swansea want to pay £8 million, Liverpool want £14 million. This one might go on for some time.

Following the signing of Michy Batshuayi, Chelsea are said to swell their ranks even further by adding Southampton's Graziano Pelle and Leicester's N'Golo Kante to their shopping list - though this could hasten the rumoured return to Atletico of Diego Costa.

Finally, and in a typically Arsene Wengerian move, Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign 21-year-old Japanese forward Takuma Asano from Sanfrecce Hiroshima who will no doubt look to emulate the incredible success of Arsenal's past ventures into the Japanese market, Junichi Inamoto and Ryo Miyaichi.

John Balfe

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