Paper Gossip: Juan Mata Told He Can Leave Chelsea, Manchester United Want Vidal
Thursday's newspapers led with reports about the future of Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata, with all of them convinced that the Spaniard will be allowed to leave the club in January after his rift with Jose Mourinho grew deeper.
Elsewhere, there is further news of Manchester United's ongoing pursuit of a new midfielder, while Arsenal have been linked with a couple of Premier League strikers after an injury to Nicklas Bendtner affected Arsene Wenger's plans.
For all that and more, click on for Thursday's top gossip.
Juan Mata Told He Can Leave Chelsea After Substitute Outburst
Many of Thursday's national newspapers are reporting that Juan Mata has been told he is free to leave Chelsea after the Spaniard reacted negatively to being substituted during the New Year's Day win over Southampton.
Mata's difficulties in winning over Blues boss Jose Mourinho have been well documented, with the two-time Chelsea player of the year relegated to a backup role behind Mourinho's preferred No. 10, Oscar, for much of the campaign.
Being substituted after a rare start at St. Mary's clearly irked Mata, who was shown on television expressing his displeasure.
The papers believe he will be allowed to leave as a consequence.
The Daily Mail reported:
But Mourinho has now indicated that he will not stand in the Spaniard's way if he wants to leave Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho, clearly aware of his player's unhappiness, said: "I don’t want him to go, that is my opinion and that is my wish—but my door is open."
The Times (subscription required) noted that Mourinho's substitutions paid dividends—with Oscar and Willian replacing Mata and Andre Schurrle—suggesting the Spaniard may have later decided his boss made the right decision in the circumstances.
Matt Hughes writes:
The Chelsea manager’s bold decision to remove Mata and Andre Schurrle after only 53 minutes of a hard-fought contest changed the game, transforming a slog through a wet and windy bog into a carefree stroll to victory.
Mourinho has turned the double and occasionally triple substitution into an art form over the years, but even by his high standards, the introduction of Oscar and Willian was staggeringly effective. Having shown dissent to Mourinho by ignoring him on the touchline and slamming his seat as he took his place on the bench, Mata could have no complaints after watching Oscar’s dazzling contribution.
With the January transfer window open, it remains to be seen if a club tests the situation further. Paris Saint-Germain have been strongly linked with the playmaker in the past.
Manchester United Considering Arturo Vidal Move
Arturo Vidal is the latest midfielder to be linked with Old Trafford, with the Daily Mirror linking Manchester United with an expensive bid for the Chilean.
The Mirror reports:
The Chile international has been one of the many names mooted with a move to Old Trafford to help bolster the champions flaky midfield.
The 26-year-old has long stated his desire to stay in Turin, but according to French newspaper Le 10 Sport may be persuaded to change his mind with extremely lucrative personal terms.
It would still be something of a coup if boss David Moyes managed to pull off the deal, Vidal having only signed a new deal at the club last month.
United have also been linked with the likes of Everton's Ross Barkley, Athletic Bilbao's Ander Herrera and Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan.
Newcastle Plan Another French Signing as They Sound out Cabella
Newcastle are hoping to seal a January deal for Montpellier midfielder Remy Cabella, according to the Daily Mail.
Alan Pardew has previously said he would like to strengthen his squad in January if possible, with one-time Arsenal target Cabella a possible option.
The Mail reports:
The 23-year-old has been linked with Manchester United for most of the season but Newcastle have contacted his club and are keen to conclude a deal this month for the versatile player.
Montpellier president Louis Nicollin declared they would sell for £14 million in November but privately they are open to negotiations as they look to bring in much-needed revenue.
Newcastle want a defender and a striker also, with Lyon’s Bafetimbi Gomis still on their radar.
Arsenal Target Remy and Berbatov After Bendtner Injury
Newcastle might have to be more preoccupied with trying to avoid losing a player in January than adding one, with Arsenal linked with their on-loan forward Loic Remy.
The Gunners have been linked with Remy and Fulham striker Dimitar Berbatov by the Daily Express after backup striker Nicklas Bendtner sprained his ankle during Wednesday's victory over Cardiff.
The Express reports:
And although Wenger will not rush into the transfer market following the Dane's injury, the Frenchman is considering attacking reinforcements.
According to reports, Berbatov is a £2million target while Remy's Champions Leagueadmission has put him back on the Gunners radar.
Berbatov is out of contract in the summer and has previously expressed a desire to leave the Cottagers, while QPR are keen to remove Remy from their long-term wage bill at the first opportunity.
Bits and Pieces
Manchester United manager David Moyes is nearing a £300,000 coup for highly rated Croatian forward Robert Muric, according to the Daily Mail.
Hull will resist any attempts Everton makes to sign defender Curtis Davies, claims the Daily Mirror.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is expected to be officially confirmed as the new Cardiff City manager in the next 24 hours, notes the Express, after he watched the Welsh club's defeat to Arsenal.
PSG will only move for Newcastle's Yohan Cabaye in January if they can offload other players, says The Sun (subscription required).
Neil Lennon hopes Joe Ledley will snub Crystal Palace's interest to sign a new deal with Celtic, according to the Daily Record.