Anfield boss lines up La Liga man in exchange for Dutch winger and a wad of cash.
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Liverpool are lining up a January move for Valencia winger Juan Mata and will try to use Ryan Babel as part of the deal.
Roy Hodgson has made the Spaniard one of his main targets for when the transfer window re-opens but the Liverpool manager knows his side will have to improve on their dismal start to the season if they are to tempt Mata to Anfield.
Sources close to the club have told Goal.com UK that Hodgson has given up on Dutch star Babel and has made the former Ajax man available for just £4.5 million as he looks to revitalise his beleaguered squad.
Liverpool would prefer to get Babel off their books by using the 23-year-old as a makeweight to convince Valencia to part with Mata, whose contract at the Mestalla expires in the summer of 2012.
Mata, 22, would cost the cash-strapped Reds around £12m, with the club believing they could finance the deal by cutting their losses on Babel, who cost £11.5m in June 2007.
Mata, a former Real Madrid trainee, could be tempted to link up with fellow Spaniards Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina on Merseyside.
But with uncertainty surrounding Liverpool’s ownership and management situation, the club face a tough task in convincing Mata to leave Valencia, who are top of the Spanish Primera Division, for a side that could be in a relegation battle. (Goal.com)
It seems very plausible that Juan Mata would look to leave Valencia after seeing team-mates David Villa and David Silva leave for Barcelona and Man City respectively and even though the Mestalla side are surprise La Liga leaders it may well be that a move to the Premier League would suit the Spanish international down to the ground.
News that the Anfield club has new owners will be no end of help in getting a deal such as this off the ground and the thowing in of Ryan Babel into the mix can only help sweeten the deal. The Dutch international has failed to make an impact at Anfield and now in his fourth season at the club seems no nearer to doing so.
A move would require a fair bit of cash on top to come from the Merseyside club but Roy Hodgson may well believe he can get more than the £4.5m quoted by this source.