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Every team has at least one player who is universally loved—even fans of opposing teams can't help but admire him.
For Chelsea, that player is Juan Mata.
Prodigiously talented, unassuming and seemingly an all-around nice guy, the 25-year-old has not even complained at being left out of Jose Mourinho's starting XI this season.
He told Chelsea's official website:
I just keep going, train well and prepare for every game. I just have to do my best in training and in games. It's important to play with the ball and without the ball, but I'm very happy and looking forward to playing a lot of games throughout the season.
I try to improve every season, my first and second seasons were fantastic but I want this one to be even better so I will try to improve, score goals, assist and do what I have to do.
But it's the Spaniard omission from all but 165 minutes of Premier League football this season that has sparked gossip about a January exit.
The Independent's Jack De Menezes claims that Arsenal and Manchester United are interested, with a possible return to Mata's former club Valencia also on the cards.
De Menezes says that the La Liga side "are believed to have already started the process of raising the £25m they feel will be enough to see Mata return to the Mestalla, with sponsors and local businesses set to fund the bid."
Just months ago it would have seemed unthinkable that the Blues would ever consider letting Mata go. It's going to be interesting to see how this one plays out. Stay tuned.