Updated 01:39 PM EST, Sun, Feb 23, 2020

Manchester United Transfer: Juan Mata Swap Threatened? Man City Goes After Koke [Rumors]

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Manchester's City and United, among the strongest candidates to land Koke, are apparently pulling out all the stops to sign the football talent.

The player is getting the wonder-kid treatment at the Premier League, ESPN FC noted, which also explained that the best teams are amplifying their bids to win him over as the summer nears.

The Independent explained that the athlete gained popularity after figuring crucially in Atletico Madrid's excellent runs in the La Liga and Champions League.

The ESPN FC report acknowledged rumors that a £44-million bounty had to be paid to the 23-year-old's current team to fulfil the release clause for the player at the moment, which was too much for any of the two Manchester teams.

Given this, the most probable scenario would be a mixed deal -- that is, a player plus money -- it concluded. At the moment, two names, one per team, are already making the rounds as the candidates for the chopping block.

Citing unnamed Spanish sources, the Daily Star reported that City manager Manuel Pellegrini was very determined to take the Spanish midfielder to the English soccer universe, willing to surrender Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic, whose market value dropped over his stint.

Express said that the decline started with the arrival of Wilfried Bony. Jovetic was removed from the Champions League squad during the second half of the season because of that addition.

The report noted that Jovetic, a £22-million acquisition from Italian club Fiorentina in 2013, would reportedly be happy to leave at the end of the season, because his manager was "killing" his career.

Pellegrini, on the other hand, was actively seeking an offensive player to add to his squad, the Daily Star commented. Marco Reus did not work out, after he renewed his contract with Borussia Dortmund.

United would not like that maneuver, as they entered the scene earlier, pitching Spanish Juan Mata and cash in exchange for Koke, the report said -- the Independent report claimed that was the intended effect.

Citing The Sun on Sunday, Metro explained that the La Liga champions were already eyeing Mata, a £37.1-million signing from Chelsea.

Since moving during the January 2014 transfer window, the 26-year-old hasn't figured much in Louis van Gaal's master plan and is further threatened by midfielder Wayne Rooney, who was moved into a midfield role, the article noted.

According to the Daily Mail, Mata was being snobbed, the same way he was sidelined by Chelsea, so he would probably welcome the switch.

For ESPN FC, since the arrival of the City option, the choice has basically gone to Atletico manager Diego Simeone.

But the Independent chimed in, noting that things would ultimately not work out. It cited several reasons, perhaps most important among them that Koke did not want to move and Atletico was already a class-A team.

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