Chelsea Transfer News: Blues Wise to Hold On to Juan Mata

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent IJuly 22, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 19:  Juan Mata of Chelsea celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge on May 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jose Mourinho is making it clear that Juan Mata will not be going anywhere. After the year Mata turned in, the fact that this statement has even been made is surprising in itself, but it certainly was needed.

Chelsea has made no secret of their pursuit of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney. This pursuit has wound up entangling Mata.  

Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror had reported that Chelsea was prepared to offer up Mata or David Luiz as part of the package to lure Rooney. 

Also, the Daily Mail's David Kent reported Arsenal has interest in Mata. 

This all comes after a 2012-13 campaign where he notched 12 Premier League goals and 12 assists, and for the second consecutive year, he won the club's player of the year award.

However, the rumors may never progress into a reality—at least not if we can take Mourinho at his word. 

Sky Sports offers this quote from Mourinho on the availability of Luiz and Mata: 

No chance. No chance.

I am not going to contact them based on news that is not true and that they know that it is not true, because I told them they are very important for me.

I spoke with them during the summer, in my period of holiday and their period in the Confederations Cup. I told them that I will see them on the 28th.

That is certainly a strong denial. Being the skeptic that I am, I'm still not convinced that there wasn't some truth to the rumor about Rooney. Mourinho obviously covets the striker, and it wouldn't be shocking if he tried to sweeten the pot with Mata or Luiz. 

However, whether the rumor was true or not is beside this point. Mata is still with the club, and Mourinho needs him to be a strong figure. He needs to show confidence in Mata.

With recent additions of youngsters like Andre Schurrle and Marco van Ginkel, Mourinho needs strong on-pitch leadership.  It will be a lot easier for Mata to fill that role with the backing of his boss.

His play on the pitch has certainly warranted that status. 

Mata showed a knack for coming up big when his team needed him. He picked up a goal and four assists while starting five games in Chelsea's championship run in the Europa League. He also came up huge down the stretch as Chelsea marched to a third-place finish in the EPL.

He needs to be an important process of the transition to Mourinho, and now it looks like he will be.