By Ashish Sharma
Juan Mata is interested in moving to Liverpool and his representatives are holding out for an approach from the Reds - despite offers from other Premier League clubs including Manchester City, Goal.com can reveal.
The 23-year-old winger, currently starring for Spain at the European Under-21 championships in Denmark, is expected to leave cash-strapped Valencia this summer, with England his likely destination.
According to a source close to Mata, an approach from Liverpool's director of football Damien Comolli would be welcomed after the tournament has reached its conclusion.
“If Liverpool are interested, then the player would also be interested to hear from them," said the source.
"While they are not playing in Europe next season, that would not be a hindrance, because Liverpool is a club with a big tradition.
“Yes, it’s true that there have been rumours linking Mata to Liverpool but I can say that so far there has been no formal contact or offer from the club.”
The source added: “Mata has offers on the table from Premier league teams that are in the Champions League next season.
"For now, he just wants to focus on the national team in Denmark at the moment but as soon as that is over he will consider his future.
"Mata is due back in Spain next week. There is a lot of speculation linking him to a move to the Premier League so he will sit down and make a decision about his future then.”
Liverpool have been heavily linked with Mata since making their interest in the player known at the end of 2010.
But with the club languishing in the bottom half of the table and toiling under Roy Hodgson, Mata declined to entertain the prospect of a January move.
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However, the arrival of Kenny Dalglish and with him Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez saw a dramatic change in the team’s fortunes and Mata's representatives believe that the club has shown the ambition to be considered as a possible destination for the young star.
Liverpool, who have prioritised signing a top-quality wide player this summer, have balked at Aston Villa's £19m asking price for 26 year-old Stewart Downing, whilst St. Ettiene's Dimitri Payet is also a target.
Goal.com understands that one of the Premier League clubs strongly interested in Mata is Manchester City, whose attempts to sign Udinese winger Alexis Sanchez are likely to be thwarted by Barcelona - the player's preferred destination.
The player is close to David Silva, who has been urging City manager Roberto Mancini to sign his former team-mate this summer.
Chelsea have also been linked with a move for Mata, amidst the suggestion that he could help get the best out of misfiring £50m striker Fernando Torres, but it remains to be seen whether he is coveted by the newly-appointed manager Andre Villas-Boas.
While Mata only signed an extension to his contract earlier this year, it’s believed that an offer in the region of £22m (€25m) would trigger a release clause in his contract with the Spanish club.