According to the Daily Mirror's Martin Lipton on June 18, Barcelona are set to make their move for the Spain international playmaker over a contract dispute between Mata and Blues manager Jose Mourinho.
Nonetheless, in the time between those articles, Simon Jones of the Daily Mail stated that "Jose Mourinho is struggling to fit the Spanish playmaker into his plans for next season" and the 25-year-old is indeed Barcelona's No.1 target ahead of the 2013-14 season.
All in all, whilst the potential for a move to the Spanish champions would certainly appear to be there—Los Cules may well hold a serious interest in the attacking midfielder—and the rumours are plentiful, there currently appears to be nothing definitive.
But why would Chelsea even contemplate allowing Mata to leave?
Since arriving at Stamford Bridge from Valencia in 2011, the diminutive Spaniard has become arguably the Blues' most important and decisive figure. His 19 goals and 35 assists in 2012-13 will attest to that.
Since Didier Drogba's departure, Mata has become the Blues' go-to guy and is the darling of the home support. They would be loathe to see a player who has become so integral depart.
Following Jose Mourinho's return to West London, supporters have largely been buoyant about the new campaign, with the sense that the constant upheaval of the six years since his departure in 2007 may have finally abated for good.
To do away with Mata, though—the idea supposedly mooted is that Mourinho prefers Eden Hazard in the central attacking role—would deflate some of that buoyancy.
He'll be fully aware that Mata has been one of the Blues' major strengths in recent seasons and that, if he can harness his abilities to their fullest, then he has at his disposal a genuinely world-class schemer who can lead Chelsea to further success.
Whether Mata doesn't fit into Mourinho's initial plans is very much open to debate and, in all honesty, really only known by the man himself.
But as he has shown throughout his managerial career, Mourinho is willing to adapt.
Whether it be formation-wise—preferring a 4-3-3 formation for the most part of his first stint as Chelsea boss, but utilising either a 4-3-1-2 or 4-2-3-1 formation whilst at Inter and a 4-2-3-1 at Real Madrid—or to suit personnel—most noticeably Wesley Sneijder whilst in charge of the Italians—he has shown that he can adapt to suit the situation at hand.
There is no reason to believe that he won't do so again.
And there is certainly no way that he will decide to let such a quality player depart.
As such, don't expect Mata to have headed for new pastures. He will still be at Chelsea come the start of the 2013-14 campaign.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!