Since Jose Mourinho returned as Chelsea boss Spanish playmaker Juan Mata has struggled for game time with the Blues.
The former-Valencia star had enjoyed a stellar last season and won the clubs Player of the Year.
Recent reports suggest that the talented Spain international is frustrated at not playing regular football at Stamford Bridge. Mata has gone from vital first team player to bit-part player under Mourinho.
However, the Chelsea boss is reluctant to let the Spaniard leave and revealed he would hold talks with Mata if that was what the playmaker wanted.
The Portuguese told Sky Sports: “I want to keep him. I don’t want him to go. That is my opinion, my wish, but my door is open,”
“The club’s door is open too so when a player wants to speak to us we are there waiting for them. If you are asking do you want the club to sell him? I don’t want to.”
Mourinho does not want Mata to leave, but he is no longer the vital cog in the team that he has been in the last few years. He now looks dispensable, which would have been unthinkable at the start of the season.
Unfortunately Juan Mata does not seem to be a Jose Mourinho player. The Spaniard does not track back as much as he probably should and that looks like the reason why Mata has not been a permanent fixture in the Chelsea team this season.
Mourinho has Brazilian Oscar as his number ten, the preferred role of Mata. The youngster is more prepared to do the defensive work and put his foot in when needed. He has an edge to his game, which maybe the Spaniard lacks.
At the moment it is hard to argue that Mata deserves to be playing in the number ten role instead of Oscar, as the Brazilian playmaker has been one of the Blues best performers this season. Mata has not done much to prove that Mourinho’s choice is incorrect either. His performances this season have been under-par.
I am a big admirer of Juan Mata. In fact I championed his cause for a regular place in the Chelsea starting line-up at the start of the season, when he was completely out-of-favour with Mourinho.
In my opinion despite his lack of defensive application, Juan Mata is one of the best players in the Premier League. He is also one of the most intelligent players in the English top-flight. Mata has the vision and passing ability that few players possess in the top-flight.
Mata has not won Chelsea Player of the Year for no reason. The 25-year-old has been superb for the Blues since his arrival from Valencia. However, I do not think Mourinho could currently pick Mata ahead of Oscar in the number ten role.
Juan Mata has not actually stated that he wants to leave the Blues, but if he does there is sure to be a queue of clubs a mile long willing to sign him in January or next summer.
A number of Premier League clubs have been linked with a move to sign the talented playmaker. The likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are all believed to be interested in signing the Spaniard.
Arsenal are well-stocked for midfielders, especially attacking ones, so the Gunners look unlikely to make a move anytime soon for the playmaker. I am sure that that Mata would be a great signing for both Manchester United and Liverpool.
England international Wayne Rooney currently plays the number ten role at United, but the former-Everton ace has been playing as the most advanced forward in the team at times this season, with doubts over the fitness of first choice striker Robin van Persie.
Mata would be a very useful addition to the squad and could be the marquee signing that United boss David Moyes failed to secure in the summer.
Liverpool have enjoyed a fantastic campaign so far this season, but signing Mata would be a major coup for the Reds and boss Brendan Rodgers. However, a move to Merseyside for the Spaniard looks unlikely.
In fact a move to any of Chelsea’s rivals looks unlikely. The race for the Premier League title and indeed the top four is very tight. Jose Mourinho would not risk strengthening one of the Blues rival teams.
If Mata did move on, and that is a big if, he is more likely to move abroad. High-flying La Liga side Atletico Madrid and mega-rich French club PSG have been linked with the playmaker in the past. A move to one of those clubs is more likely than a move to one of Chelsea’s Premier League rivals.
If Juan Mata does move on from Chelsea this January he will be a major loss. He may not be regarded as a vital player to his boss, but he has the talent and intelligence to have a major role to play for Chelsea in the second half of the season.
However, if the Spaniard does move on then he will most likely be a key player for whoever he signs for and continue to be a very good player. Mata is a popular player at Chelsea and I am sure that the majority of Blues fans are hoping he stays at Stamford Bridge for the foreseeable future. If not I believe that most Blues fans would wish him well for the future.
Will Chelsea sell Juan Mata in January?