No quick fixes - Moyes
David Moyes is adamant he will not compromise the standards of Manchester United by making a quick fix during the current transfer window.
A move for the 25-year-old would make sense, even though United will be forced to pay a hefty price to bolster a squad that has slumped to seventh in the Barclays Premier League, with virtually no chance of retaining their title.
Mata's arrival would certainly be for the long term though, which fits the template Moyes has laid down in his programme notes for the Capital One Cup semi-final second-leg encounter with Sunderland at Old Trafford.
"I fully understand that supporters are keen to see us freshen up the squad with new faces, but January is a difficult month in which to bring people in," Moyes told United Review.
"While we are actively scouting players all the time, a lot of the work we are doing now is preparation for the summer.
"If we can do any business now then we will certainly try to do it, but I will not compromise the standards required for a player that can come into this club and help improve it."
Moyes has been linked with a host of players already this month and is expected to take advantage of a free weekend caused by United's early FA Cup exit to embark on another European scouting mission.
The move for Mata though, makes perfect sense.
Although former United defender Gary Neville pointed out this week his arrival would represent a change of tactic for a side which has traditionally relied on two wingers, the fact that Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Nani have all failed to consistently shine under Moyes this season means ditching the concept would be no hardship.
In addition, it would prove to fans the club are serious about addressing the sharp decline in fortunes experienced since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure, even if it cannot guarantee Champions League football.
For Mata, it would end a tortuous few months under Jose Mourinho and also enhance his chances of making Spain's World Cup squad.
Chelsea would bank a far larger fee than they could hope to attract from Mata's other suitors - Barcelona and Paris St Germain - and while it would be unusual for them to sell to a fellow Premier League side, Mourinho knows United are not a threat in this season's competition.
Indeed, given United have played Chelsea twice but must still encounter Arsenal and Manchester City in the run-in, it could be argued Mourinho is strengthening his own team's position.
For Moyes, it can only be the start of what is sure to be an extensive rebuilding programme, that is not likely to be completed for another 18 months.
Yet, from the despair of four defeats in five games since the turn of the year, the Scot can see good times ahead.
"We all know that our club is undergoing changes at present, but I have a clear path in my mind and I know where we are going," he said.
Related Manchester United News