You don’t have to be a world expert in body language to realise that these days Juan Mata is not particularly happy with his lot at Chelsea.
The reaction from Mata—one of the nicest men in the game—to being substituted at Southampton was a mixture of frustration and petulance, and one that showed us all that this world-class player is not in a good place at the moment.
Despite being voted the club’s player of the year for the past two seasons and being key for Chelsea in winning for the first time two consecutive European titles, he now finds himself under the control of a coach (Jose Mourinho) who doesn’t seem to have the same faith in him as had Rafa Benitez or Roberto di Matteo—the two previous occupants of the Stamford Bridge hot seat.
Mata’s pain is palpable, and his mood won’t be particularly lifted by Mourinho’s latest comments, per ESPN, that he would not stand in his way should a club come in for him.
But are Mourinho and everyone at the club singing from the same hymn sheet? The facts do not necessarily support the idea.
Here are some realities
My sources have made it clear that Juan Mata has NOT now, and NEVER has in the past, asked the club for a move. He is made of stronger stuff than that and WILL ONLY leave if the club tell him his services are no longer required.
There was interest, and still is, from a host of clubs, not least Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Manchester United, Napoli, Tottenham, Liverpool and Valencia last summer. At that time, Chelsea made it quite clear to Mata and his people that he was not for sale, even though Mourinho was willing to let him go. Nothing has changed, either before or after Mourinho’s latest outburst. Nobody has communicated to Mata that things have changed. So far.
Will the club let Mourinho have his way this time and allow him to offload Mata? One thing is certain, my sources have said, and that is as things stand, the club have said nothing to neither Mata nor his representatives. And until they do, the player has no plans on going anywhere. He has not asked to be sold and doesn’t want to go unless he is forced out.
Should they decide to sell him, it’s safe to say there will not be a shortage of suitors from Europe’s elite, read the names above again, but at the moment it’s a strange situation for this dedicated professional to have to be going through.
Meanwhile rumour, counter-rumours, gossip and general tittle-tattle abound in this latest transfer window. So let’s cut everyone off at the pass as regards the mooted moves of some of La Liga’s most wanted.
Diego Costa and Koke have both renewed their contracts with Atletico Madrid until 2018 and have both reiterated that they are staying put.
My sources say they have told the club that they don't want to go. With the World Cup only a heartbeat away, both harbour aspirations of participating in it. Also, a move to another club, however big, would see them cup-tied for the rest of the Champions League they are still very much competing in. Exposure in that most exclusive of shop windows that is the Champions League will do their international ambitions no harm.
It’s also worth noting that everyone at the club firmly believes they can this season actually win their first La Liga since 1996. They don’t plan to go, and the club don’t plan to sell them. It doesn’t matter what their buyout clause is when they don’t want to go.
And finally, after the confusing situation of the proposed summer move to Manchester United of Ander Herrera (player, Athletic Bilbao and people at United were convinced it was going to take place, but it was stopped in the last few hours), what is clear is that having his dreams dashed in the most bizarre fashion has left its mark on the Bilbao midfielder.
Despite rumours to the contrary, I can confirm he has unequivocally stated that he has no intention of moving to Manchester, or for that matter anywhere else this January or next summer. So that is, again, that.