Tottenham are reportedly attempting to snatch Valencia’s Juan Mata from under the noses of Arsenal, with Daniel Levy and Harry Redknapp tabling a bid well in excess of the €21 million release clause that is included in the player’s contract.
Redknapp has long been an admirer of Mata and was said to be lining up a move earlier in the summer, however Arsenal took the initiative to become the favourites to land the Spanish international’s signature.
But while Arsene Wenger hesitated over a bid for the Valencia player, Spurs have offered the La Liga side close to €25 million in an attempt to rush through a deal before Arsenal have time to react.
Valencia have admitted they are preparing for Mata’s departure as they look once more to sell off key assets in order to shore up their finances.
“We are ready if [Mata] does depart.” sporting director, Braulio Vázquez said, something he would have got used to saying after selling David Villa and David Silva in recent years in order to keep their heads above water.
Now marks a crucial stage in the deal with Spurs keen to get their summer spending up and running after a surprisingly quiet period to date.
A striker remains the main objective for Redknapp this summer, with a deal for Roma striker Mirko Vucinic said to be round the corner, however if he can land a player with the calibre of Mata in spite of Arsenal’s interest, it would be a real statement of intent to both their league rivals and fans of the club.
Arsenal may yet come in for Mata, but with doubts over their financial strength in the market Spurs may be able to persuade the player that White Hart Lane is the right place to be playing football next season. If the Gunners do come in with an offer they would likely become the sports betting favourites for his signature, although Redknapp will be hopeful of performing a similar job that saw Rafael Van der Vaart persuaded to move to North London.
The talented former Real Madrid winger has been targeted by a host of top European clubs this summer, but looked set to stay after he insisted he would stay in Spain for another year – something his club seemingly can’t commit to.
With the start of the season two weeks away Redknapp knows he must act fast, and the signing of Mata could well kick-start a late summer spending spree for Spurs.