Man Utd could be about to sign another Mata and Matic out of the blue

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Manchester United are reportedly interested in signing Cesar Azpilicueta this summer. The Spain international has been a loyal servant to Chelsea over the years, having been at the club ever since 2012, claiming every major trophy in the time since. However, he could be about to follow in the footsteps of former team-mates Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic by swapping Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford.

According to journalist Simon Phillips, writing on his Substack, Azpilicueta is interesting United.

He wrote: “I’m told Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Manchester United are three of the clubs interested in Azpilicueta.”

The Chelsea star’s current contract is due to expire next summer, meaning the Blues face selling him now or losing their veteran for nothing.

And random though it is, United are eyeing a deal.

It’s added the Red Devils are looking for experienced cover in defence, at a time when the likes of Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly are expected to be shown the door.

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While a move to Spain is described as the most likely outcome, that hasn’t stopped United from expressing an interest in the Blues stalwart.

And should a deal materialise, Azpilicueta would become the third player to leave Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford over the past decade.

Back in January 2014, David Moyes wanted backing.

He had overseen a dismal start to his time as United boss, having replaced Sir Alex Ferguson just months previously.

The Red Devils had let Moyes down by failing to land transfer targets such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas.

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And the Scot believed that, by taking transfer action, he would be able to keep his job and last the course.

United then got wind that Mata would be allowed to leave Chelsea, having fallen down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho in the capital.

So they decided to press ahead with a deal, with the Spain international joining in a £37million transfer.

Mata wouldn’t be enough to save Moyes from the sack.

However, he’d still end up being a cult hero at United – helping them to silverware triumphs under the likes of Louis van Gaal and Mourinho before leaving last year.

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Then, in 2017, United decided to turn to Chelsea again.

Mourinho, who had replaced Van Gaal the previous year and made a winning start, wanted a midfielder to go alongside Paul Pogba.

Eric Dier was initially his preferred target, having impressed at Tottenham while playing for Mauricio Pochettino.

But United, knowing Antonio Conte was ready to jettison Matic, moved for the Serbian instead.

The midfielder would end up spending five years in Manchester before leaving to reunite with Mourinho at Roma last summer.

But he was still a useful squad player for United nonetheless.

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Chelsea would likely try and prevent losing Azpilicueta to a rival, especially given their shambolic season they’ve endured so far.

Yet United are in the mix to land the Spain international and whether they’re successful in their chase remains to be seen.

A defender isn’t the only player the Red Devils want to sign when the transfer window reopens.

A new midfielder is being eyed, with Ryan Gravenberch, Frenkie de Jong and Jude Bellingham all admired.

And United want a new forward, too, with Harry Kane and Victor Osimhen both under consideration amid uncertainty over their futures at Tottenham and Napoli respectively.

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