It used to be Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson indulging in the dark arts when it came to the January transfer window – which mostly involved throwing smoke screens.
However, Manchester United were usually on an unbeaten run come the New Year and building a head of steam for their customary title charge.
Chelsea, thanks to the era kickstarted by Jose Mourinho, have always been in the mix, irrespective of which manager was the flavor of the season for Roman Ambramovich.
Now, David Moyes is in charge and United, like the club’s share price, are on the wane.
Moyes has refused to commit on whether Wayne Rooney will stay at Old Trafford for another season, with the Red Devils, on current form, almost certain to miss out on Champions League qualification for the first time in… well, who can remember?
Chelsea and Mourinho want Rooney and Chelsea have a player who is being given the ‘Special’ One treatment when Mourinho is not sure of how a player fits into his plans.
It is likely a Mata of time before Juan leaves Chelsea.
Is a Mata for Rooney swap likely between Moyes and Mourinho?
Every football pundit, armchair expert and diehard expert has been screaming for Moyes and United to find a Paul Scholes replacement.
Instead, the early transfer rumours are all about kids from Arsenal and Moyes’ wing-back obsession – Leighton Baines, Luke Shaw…
Mata is the only Scholes-level player who would come to Old Trafford in this January window.
And by Moyes’ own admission, Rooney is at the peak of his powers and is likely to command an asking price right now.
Can the big January move be Mata for Rooney?