MX23RW : Wednesday, July 18 16:46:24

Five possible replacements for Juan Mata

With Juan Mata reportedly close to sealing a move to Manchester United, Sports Mole suggests five players that Chelsea could sign as a replacement.

After months of frustration sitting on the bench at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata is expected to complete a move to Manchester United on Thursday for a fee in the region of £37m.

The decision to part ways with the Spanish international comes less than a week after Kevin de Bruyne departed West London after a similar spell as a Chelsea substitute.

With Jose Mourinho being left with a gap in his creative midfield department, Sports Mole suggests five players that the Portuguese coach could attempt to sign before the end of the January transfer window.

Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring against Manchester City on December 09, 2012.© Getty Images
1. Wayne Rooney

It's no secret that Mourinho has been interested in working with Wayne Rooney for a considerable amount of time, and his pursuit of the Manchester United striker was a frequent fixture on the back pages during the summer.

It wasn't until the end of August that talk of Rooney's departure from Old Trafford subsided, but the England international has already been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge since the turn of the year.

Rumours persist that Rooney is unhappy at the Premier League champions, but the word coming out of the club is that they have no intention of parting ways with the 28-year-old.

However, with Chelsea showing that it's possible for transfer deals to be conducted between the fierce rivals, only time will tell whether Mourinho will mount a significant transfer offer for Rooney before the end of the month.

Southampton's English midfielder Adam Lallana celebrates scoring the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 22, 2013© Getty Images
2. Adam Lallana

Mourinho has insisted that he is in it for the long haul at Chelsea, and an extended tenure at Stamford Bridge will eventually require him to add English blood to his squad.

That could see him make a move for a young English talent that has impressed during the current Premier League campaign, and Southampton player Adam Lallana could potentially be under consideration.

The 25-year-old, who has also attracted attention from Manchester United, has contributed five goals and four assists during an impressive five months that has also seen him make his international debut for England as he attempts to gatecrash Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad.

Lallana would also be available to feature in the Champions League, and it would come as no surprise if Mourinho lodged a bid for his signature over the next eight days.

Everton's Ross Barkley celebrates after scoring the opening goal against QPR during their FA Cup third round match on January 4, 2013© AFP
3. Ross Barkley

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has wowed Goodison Park with a series of powerful displays this season, and he will be a strong contender for the PFA Young Player of the Year award come the end of the campaign.

The 20-year-old has netted three times for the Toffees during their fine start to the year, including a stunning free kick that won his team all three points against Swansea City.

The youngster is currently out injured with a fractured toe, but he is expected to return at some point during February.

It would take a huge offer for Everton to allow Barkley to leave, but the chance for Roberto Martinez to add an extra £30m to his transfer budget could prove too hard to turn down.

Mirko Vucinic of Juventus celebrates scoring the first goal during the Serie A match against Bologna at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara on March 16, 2013© Getty Images
4. Mirko Vucinic

If Mourinho is unable to secure the services of an English talent it could force him to look abroad, and Juventus attacker Mirko Vucinic could be a realistic option.

The Montenegro striker was linked with a move to Arsenal earlier in the transfer window, but that idea was soon rejected by manager Arsene Wenger.

Vucinic has also seen a swap deal that would have taken him to Inter Milan break down, leaving the former Roma player's future up in the air.

The 30-year-old is unlikely to be seen as a long-term option for Mourinho, but he is someone who could strengthen their squad as the Blues challenge for the Premier League title.

Antoine Griezmann of Real Sociedad celebrates after scoring the first goal during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and Real Sociedad at Estadio Mestalla on October 19, 2013© Getty Images
5. Antoine Griezmann

Antoine Griezmann is someone who will be relatively unknown to English football supporters, but the Real Sociedad player is building a growing reputation for himself in La Liga.

The 22-year-old, who is considered an outside bet to make France's World Cup squad, helped Sociedad reach the Champions League last season, and he has netted 12 goals in 18 league appearances during the current campaign.

Griezmann has spent his entire career at Sociedad, scoring 46 times in 177 games, but he is keen to join a reputable European club in the near future.

The Spanish side won't be keen to part with their most prized asset, but their failure to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League could tempt them into a January sale.

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Everton's Ross Barkley celebrates after scoring the opening goal against QPR during their FA Cup third round match on January 4, 2013
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