Football is strange these days, one minute a player can be toast of the game and the next he can be out in the cold.
Well for some reason Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata’s future at the club is suddenly in doubt, amid speculation that Chelsea are about to hijack Tottenham’s bid for Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian.
To me Juan Mata is one of the classiest foreign imports in the Premier League. Some players are mercenaries and just come to England for the money on offer.
Mata has never looked like one of those players. His professionalism on and off the pitch is a superb example to every player on how to conduct yourself.
I do not think many people would argue with me claiming that the Spanish midfielder is one of the best players in the Premier League. Yet still there seems to be rumblings for one reason or another that he is not happy at Stamford Bridge.
Some British tabloids are running with the story that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is looking to part company with Mata, which just seems crazy to me.
When it comes to Mata’s stats last season, there were few players in the Premier League that were more productive than Juan Mata. The Spaniard scored 11 goals and had 18 assists last season in the top-flight, which is a pretty good record for an attacking midfielder.
In fact, Mata scored three more goals than Chelsea’s British record signing and main striker Fernando Torres last season in the top-flight, although that may say more about the poor standard of Torres’ performances last season than the quality of Mata’s.
The problem at Chelsea seems to be the number of players that are now vying for the attacking positions behind the lone striker. Last season the attacking midfielder trio were Eden Hazard, Oscar and Mata, with Victor Moses making cameo appearances from the bench and in Europe.
This summer Chelsea have brought in Andre Schurrle, who can play in any of the forward positions and Marco van Ginkel, who is classed as an attacking midfielder, although may well play in a deeper role.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho now has a plethora of options in those attacking midfield positions. Hazard and Oscar have already shown flashes of class in Chelsea’s first two games. Mata did not start the Blues opening game because he has struggled with a minor niggle in pre-season and had also been away on international duty with Spain.
Schurrle made brief cameo appearances from the substitute’s bench, while Victor Moses has yet to make an appearance for the Blues. However, you cannot take much from the opening two games of the season.
One thing that is for sure though is that Hazard and Oscar will have benefitted greatly from their first season in the Premier League. Both players looked good last season, but could be even better in this campaign, which could push Mata down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.
If Mata did leave Chelsea then it is hard to see where he could go. Real Madrid and Barcelona in his homeland are already packed with attacking players. Real are actually looking to sell some of their current stock of players.
Barcelona have brought in Brazilian wonderkid Neymar this summer and look unlikely to be able to fit Mata into their team, even if they wanted to sign the former-Valencia star.
Mata has been linked with a move to Premier League rivals Manchester United in the past, but Mourinho will not want to strengthen the clubs title rivals. The Blues still hold an interest in United and England forward Wayne Rooney.
Maybe Mourinho is thinking about using Mata in some sort of swap deal, as previously mooted. In football you just never know what will happen next.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has stated in the past that he wants the Spaniard to remain at Stamford Bridge and that he is important to the team. Mourinho has even revealed that he wants Mata to play in a different role for the team this season.
Although Willian is a very good player, I would not put him in the same class as Juan Mata. If I had a choice between the two the Spaniard would win by a country mile. Mata would be a big loss to the Chelsea team.
Despite claims that Mata is going nowhere there are still rumours and speculation that he could leave Chelsea. I hope for Chelsea’s sake and the Premier League’s case that these are just unfounded rumours, as Juan Mata is a key asset to Chelsea and a fantastic player to watch.
Will Juan Mata leave Chelsea before the transfer window closes?