Juan Mata has spoken of his desire to remain at Chelsea, despite inevitable transfer speculation.
A recent report by Simon Johnson at The Evening Standard outlined the 25-year-old's hopes to feature in next year's World Cup with Spain.
Of course, he knows that if he can get a run of form together at Stamford Bridge, his World Cup selection will take care of itself.
Since Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea, there has been much speculation about where Mata fits into the equation. Mourinho has started Oscar ahead of Mata on many occasions, which has understandably riled some sections of the fanbase.
After all, Mata was Chelsea's best player last year and seemed integral to any vision that Mourinho could have for the team upon arrival.
Nevertheless, as the appearances dwindled it suddenly became very possible for Mata to be offloaded. As recently as November 24, Charles Perrin at the Express reported that rumours were rife of interest from Juventus and Athletico Madrid.
In choosing to address the situation now, Mata will hope to avoid a repeat of the scenario he faced in the summer window, when every day seemed to bring with it fresh news of his departure.
Speaking to ChelseaTV, the Spanish midfielder outlined his plans for the future, as well as addressing his playing time:
I think it’s good [the competition for places] for every player and even for the manager. We have a lot of players to choose from and a very good squad. In some positions we have a lot of players at more or less the same level.
If you think about it [the number of games he’s played in the last two years], it’s probably too much. But during the season you don’t want to stop. I want to play as much as I can. I have the summer [after the World Cup] where I can rest so I want to play as much as I can.
Although that doesn't stand as a ringing endorsement of his recent treatment, it shows that he is willing to fight for his place in the side because he wants to succeed at Chelsea.
Chelsea boss Mourinho has not told me why I don’t play – Juan Mata http://t.co/7ujhYSrLS9— Chelsea News (@NewsChelsea) December 6, 2013
Mata is too good a player for Chelsea to lose, that much is clear. Mourinho will know this, but he will also have no concern for Mata's World Cup hopes.
Maybe he is testing the player's resolve in a difficult situation, or maybe his personality is geared more toward Oscar's determination and willingness to track back and make defensive challenges than Mata's flair and instinctive touch.
However, that doesn't change the fact that when the Spaniard runs the Chelsea midfield, everything suddenly seems simpler. The attacking play is fluent, the strikers find themselves with the ball at their feet and the movement off the ball causes havoc for defenders.
His performance against Southampton was exceptional, so more in that vein and Mata should find himself in control of his destiny, just like he wanted.