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Manchester United ready to swap fan-favourite to help seal transfer of £39million-rated star

Manchester United are reportedly ready to offer Juan Mata to Inter Milan if it helps them seal the January transfer of Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario.

ESPN claim that the Red Devils are interested in Mario this winter after his falling out of favour at the San Siro this season.

Corriere dello Sport add that Mata could be used as a surprise makeweight in the deal, which seems a strange strategy from manager Jose Mourinho given the Spaniard’s importance to the team.

Mata is also hugely popular at Old Trafford for his committed performances, as well as an honest and down-to-earth persona off the pitch.

The 29-year-old regularly keeps United fans updated with a personal blog, whilst also pursuing valuable initiatives such as his Common Goal foundation, which has seen him donate 1% of his income to charity, and urges other high-profile athletes to do the same.

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Juan Mata could leave Manchester United for Inter Milan

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Manchester United could seal the transfer of Joao Mario this January

MORE: Manchester United transfer news

Mata for Mario would not be a like-for-like swap either, with the latter likely to fill a more defensive role in United’s midfield, which may be sensible given the contract situations of both Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini.

The pair are yet to sign new deals and are closing in on becoming free agents next summer, leaving United with a lack of options in that area of the pitch.

Mario, 24, looks a decent prospect but ESPN claim Inter would hope to recoup close to the £39million they paid for him, though a swap deal could bring that fee down.

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