The Daily Mail reports Arsene Wenger wants to splash record cash for the Valencia midfielder and U21 standout who was part of the victorious Spanish team. It's all part of these sensational exclusives which The Daily Mail and The Sun specialize in which is why one needs to take with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Oddly enough Mata actually make sense as a signing because Wenger has big shoes to fill should Cesc Fabregas depart. He can play centrally as well as out on the left. The former Real Madrid product has already made 11 appearances for the national team. In the Liga he usually ranks behind Xavi in assists provided but he has the goalscoring edge. More importantly he links up well with his strikers and his association with David Villa was one of the highlights before the striker departed for Barca.
The caveat is Valencia have bled players like David Villa and David Silva in recent years and now Joaquin is off to Malaga. They're looking to U21 players to rebuild their squad and Mata and Dani Parejo figure very prominently in these future plans. Los Che are also targeting other domestic youth players like César Azpilicueta, Martin Montoya, and Jeffren. £18 million is a tidy sum but when it involves your linchpin then it may not be considered enough. Mata has been pivotal in Valencia finishing in the top four since his arrival at the Mestalla in 2008. His growing reputation has a number of clubs interested including Liverpool and Man City which if true means that amount will probably cross the £20 million quite easily.
Meanwhile Ricardo Alvarez all set to join Arsenal according to a number of reports is now a top target for new Inter boss Gian Piero Gasperini.