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Chelsea would prefer Mata moved abroad than to Man Utd

Chelsea's preferred option is to sell Juan Mata to a foreign club - rather than Manchester United.

The London Evening Standard says United are interested but Chelsea would prefer to sell abroad if Mata pressed for a transfer. The London club are also conscious it would be a gamble losing him as an injury to Oscar, Willian or Eden Hazard would leave them short in the attacking midfield role.

United consider last summer's dispute with Jose Mourinho over Wayne Rooney to be a major impediment to an attempt to sign Mata and do not intend to sell the striker as part of any deal.

United have indicated only that they have not yet bid for Mata - leaving open the prospect of a move in the next 48 hours - but there is no optimism at Old Trafford that they can persuade the Blues to do a straight cash deal.

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