Mata, 25, has been linked with a move from Stamford Bridge having struggled to hold down a regular starting place under Jose Mourinho.
United deny making an official offer, but an initial bid has been tabled through intermediaries acting on behalf of the Premier League champions.
Mata did not train with Chelsea’s first team on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Chelsea insisted that Mata, who has been voted the club’s player of the year two seasons in a row, was not for sale.
But the playmaker, who was part of the Spain squad that won the World Cup in 2010 and European Championship in 2012, has been substituted in nine of his 13 Premier League appearances for the Blues this season, prompting speculation other clubs could bid for him in the January transfer window.
The initial offer, which exceeds United’s £30.75m fee for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008, is likely to be rejected with Chelsea holding out for as much money as possible with more than a week to go until the transfer window closes.
However, United have big plans to rebuild their team under David Moyes and are prepared to pay a premium for top players if it means securing them now rather than waiting until the summer.
“A lot of the work we are doing now is preparation for the summer,” Moyes told United’s matchday programme ahead of their League Cup semi-final second-leg against Sunderland on Wednesday.
“If we can do any business now then we will certainly try to do it, but I will not comprimise the standards required for a player that can come into this club and help improve it.”
Chelsea boss Mourinho, 50, said last week that while he understood it was “hard” for Mata to sit on the bench, the Spaniard still had a “big role” to play at the club.
The Portuguese has trusted Eden Hazard, Oscar and summer signing Willian in attacking roles this season and while his relationship with Mata is healthy, he has conceded Chelsea’s system does not suit the player.
“There are fantastic players, but sometimes the fantastic players are more fantastic to a certain system and less fantastic in a certain model of play,” Mourinho told BBC Sport’s Football Focus.
Chelsea paid £23.5m to sign Mata from Valencia in 2011. The former Real Madrid youth player had impressed during four seasons with the Spanish club and began life in England by scoring 13 goals in his debut season as Chelsea won the FA Cup and Champions League.
He followed it up with 20 goals in the 2012-13 season as Chelsea lifted the Europa League under Rafael Benitez but, since Mourinho returned for his second spell at the club, Mata has seen his playing time limited.
He was substituted 53 minutes into the Blues’ 3-0 win at Southampton on New Year’s Day, his last appearance, and was visibly frustrated when taking his place on the bench as Mourinho stood in his technical area.
A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morganview all posts by: Nana Kwesi Coomson
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