Manchester United are considering a swap deal to sign AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman and allow Juan Mata to move in the opposite direction.
The Spain international was David Moyes' last signing at Old Trafford as the playmaker arrived from Chelsea in January 2013.
According to the Mirror, United manager Louis van Gaal will use Mata as a bait to sign his compatriot in the winter transfer window.
The 20-time English champions strengthened their squad by signing Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao.
The arrival of the former Real Madrid star and the Colombian international has raised doubts over Mata's future at the club.
The 26-year-old plays behind the striker and Van Gaal has several players who can play in that position.
United skipper Wayne Rooney can play at No 10 and youngster Adnan Januzaj can also play there.
The Belgium international has urged the Dutchman to play him in his preferred position behind the striker.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager allowed Shinji Kagawa to rejoin Borussia Dortmund last month and he could now sanction the sale of Mata to sign the Dutch international.
Strootman was linked with a move to Old Trafford last summer while he was with his former club PSV Eindhoven.
The 24-year-old sustained a knee injury earlier in March and will be out of action till autumn. The defensive midfielder should be fit enough when the transfer window opens at the start of the next calendar year.
Van Gaal could start Falcao and Robin van Persie as the two strikers to lead United's attack and play Rooney behind him.
Should this happen, Mata's playing time will be reduced and he will be forced to sit on the bench. United lack a defensive midfielder as Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Blind are the only two recognised players in that position.
Carrick is on the sidelines and Fletcher has been seen struggling in the league matches played so far this season. The addition of Strootman will give Van Gaal more options during the team selection.
United will have an uphill task in acquiring the services of the Roma star as the Italian club's sporting director Walter Sabatini has claimed Strootman will not be sold in January.
However, a chance to sign Mata as a part of swap deal could see the Serie A outfit change their mind.
The Mirror also claims Mata has been attracting interest from Juevntus. The Italian champions are willing to pay £20m for the Spaniard's signature in January.