London - Manchester United has bid £37 million for Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata, the team's first move in the January transfer window.
United is waiting for its Premier League rival to sign off on the club-record deal for the 25-year-old Spain international, a person close to negotiations said Thursday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been finalized.
The transfer would eclipse the £30.7 million United paid to sign striker Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham in 2008, and show that the American owners are willing to spend to revitalize a struggling team.
In a sign that Mata's departure from Chelsea is nearing after falling out of favor, the club's player of the year for the last two seasons did not train with the first team on Wednesday.
Signing the 25-year-old Spain midfielder would be a coup for United manager David Moyes, and lift some of the gloom surrounding recent performances.
The bright spot is still remaining in Champions League contention going into the round of 16 against Olympiakos next month.
But the team is seventh in the league, 14 points behind leader Arsenal, and facing a fight to secure one of the four Champions League places.
Having already exited the FA Cup, United missed out on a spot in the League Cup final on Wednesday when Sunderland won a penalty shootout at Old Trafford.