Jose Mourinho insists Juan Mata will not be allowed to leave Chelsea this summer, despite a report from David Kent in the Daily Mail that Tottenham view the Spaniard as a potential replacement for Gareth Bale.
Mata was once again overlooked by Mourinho on Monday, sitting on the bench for the entire 90 minutes as Chelsea held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw. He also played no part in the Blues’ opening game of the season against Hull, and featured for only 65 minutes against Aston Villa.
Having been Chelsea’s star performer during the 2012/13 campaign, it is unlikely Mata will settle for a bit-part role all season, but Mourinho is adamant the Spaniard will stay.
Phil McNulty of BBC Sport provides the quote: "He (Mata) is very important to Chelsea and the stories coming out are nonsense. No chance - Juan goes nowhere."
Tottenham are monitoring Mata’s situation closely according to Kent, hoping to capitalise on any dissatisfaction on behalf of the player, who is valued in the region of £30 million.
Chelsea began Monday’s United encounter with four "No. 10s" on the field, none of whom were Mata. Andre Schurrle played in an advanced role ahead of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Kevin De Bruyne, before Fernando Torres was introduced in the second period.
Soon to be added into that mix will be the recently signed Brazil international Willian, providing even more competition for Mata’s place in the starting XI.
Spurs are still braced for Bale to join Real Madrid in a world-record transfer, and despite the deflections of United boss David Moyes, The Independent's Sam Wallace claims United also want the Wales international.
If Bale leaves, Spurs must find a replacement, and it is their own search for new faces that is said to be holding up the completion of the Bale-to-Madrid deal.
Andre Villas-Boas wants to add £30 million-rated Roma forward Erik Lamela to his squad, while Mata has emerged as a candidate for the supporting role after Spurs missed out on Willian.
Only if Spurs get these replacements in place can they afford to sanction Bale’s move to Madrid. Villas-Boas' men have shown promise in their opening two Premier League games but have lacked an X-factor in both.
Roberto Soldado has settled quickly into English football but only has Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor as competition for his jersey. Meanwhile, Mousa Dembele was forced to play in a more advanced role than he would like against Swansea, with Nacer Chadli ineffective out wide.
The additions of Mata and Lamela would considerably improve the strength of Spurs' starting XI as they bid to cement Champions League football this season.