Tottenham Hotspur are hoping to gazump their North London rivals Arsenal by signing the highly-rated Valencia and Spain international Juan Mata. The 23-year-old had looked set to sign for the Gunners, but reports on the back pages this morning suggest that Spurs are set to table a £22 million bid for the winger.
Mata himself is believed to favour a move to Arsenal, however, Spurs could force cash-strapped Valencia into selling to the highest bidder. Harry Redknapp has made it clear that he is looking to add attacking players to his squad and the Gunners’s chances of signing Mata appear to rest on the sale of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona.
Mata, who has a buy-out clause of €21 million in his current Valenica contract, has made no secret of his willingness to play in the Premier League while the Catalan club is keen to cash in on a player whose star is rising. Their sporting director Braulio Vázquez admitted : ‘We are ready if [Mata] does depart.’
Valencia’s huge debts have seen them transformed from Champions League contenders to feeder club for Europe’s big spenders in the space of ten years. The club were forced to sell both David Villa and David Silva last season in order to balance the books and Mata looks like he’ll be the next young talent out the door.
The €21 million buy-out clause in Mata’s current contract means that Valencia have to let the player leave if a club is willing to meet that price. Having reportedly bid over the odds Spurs now look odds-on favourites to sign the highly-rated forward.