Manchester United and Chelsea agree provisional £40m deal for Juan Mata

According to the Guardian, Chelsea and Manchester United have provisionally agreed a £40m fee for Juan Mata, though the champions are yet to make a formal bid and any deal to take the 25-year-old to Old Trafford remains dependent on him personally informing José Mourinho of his desire to move.

Negotiations between officials from the two clubs are at an advanced stage, with the transfer said to be "almost complete" by sources close to the discussions.

Despite the lack of an official offer from United for Mata, who has found first-team opportunities relatively limited at Stamford Bridge this season under Mourinho, the London club anticipate that situation changing soon as there is a little over a week of the current window remaining.

There is an instinctive reluctance at Stamford Bridge to lose their player of the season from each of his two full campaigns at the club, sentiment expressed publicly by Mourinho over recent weeks when the manager has been asked about Mata's immediate future. Yet the Spaniard has completed 90 minutes only three times this season, starting 11 league games, and, with the World Cup to come in the summer, his frustration on the sidelines has been acknowledged sympathetically.

Other clubs have expressed tentative interest in the forward, most notably Paris Saint-Germain, with Atlético Madrid going as far as to seek to take him on loan for six months with an option to make the move permanent in the summer. Yet the prospective deal that would be lodged by United would eclipse all-comers with Mata, who would be cup-tied in Europe this term, favourable to the idea, intent as he is to perform regularly for a prestigious club. David Moyes's side languish 14 points from the Premier League summit and six from the Champions League places, but the club retains its mystique.

Chelsea had originally hoped to review Mata's situation in the summer, conscious as they are that they will struggle to recruit a player of comparable calibre in the remainder of this window and with challenges ahead on three fronts. Indeed, Juan Mata Sr, who acts as the player's agent, had hoped to broker a deal to Barcelona at the end of the campaign, only for United's interest to emerge and prove enticing.