Juan Mata Transfer Rumours: Latest News on the Chelsea Star
Blues boss Jose Mourinho has remained adamant that he does not want the Spanish playmaker to depart but, with the player himself reportedly unhappy and the club believed to need to sell before they can buy in the window, rumours abound that Mata could move on this month.
We will collect all rumours surrounding Mata right here, with the slideshow updated with any relevant additional reports as and when they arrive.
Mata to Head to Real Madrid If Angel Di Maria Departs?
Could Juan Mata be returning to where his senior career truly began? That's the belief of the Daily Express on Wednesday, as they report that the attacking midfielder is being lined up by Real Madrid should Angel Di Maria leave the club.
Mata, who joined Real from Oviedo as a teenager but failed to establish himself at the Santiago Bernabeu, could be heading to the Spanish capital depending on the club's other January business.
The paper reports:
Reports in Spain suggest that Mata has been offered to both Real and Barcelona this month after falling out of favour under Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.
And with the player set for showdown talks with the Chelsea hierarchy after reacting furiously to being substituted against Southampton on New Year's Day, Real are keen to capitalise on the player's discontent.
Meanwhile, Di Maria's antics at Real following the arrival of Gareth Bale in the summer have made his position at the club increasingly untenable, and the player did little to alleviate the situation by grabbing his crotch at home supporters as he was substituted in Monday night's match against Celta Vigo.
Manchester United and Arsenal have both been linked with a move for the 25-year-old Argentine international, but it seems that Monaco lead the chase and are willing to pay in excess of £20m to bring Di Maria on board.
If the Di Maria deal does go through, Real could turn their attentions to Mata—although Xabi Alonso may also find himself drawn into the deal. The Express adds:
That would be more than enough to offset the £16.5m Chelsea are believed to want for Mata without even taking into account the possibility of a possible swap deal involving Xabi Alonso who is reportedly on Chelsea's wish-list.
However, Real president Florentino Perez remains unconvinced about the signing given Mata's past interactions with the club he left as a youngster to join Valencia.
Ultimately, the decision will rest with Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose time at Chelsea did not overlap with Mata but is known to be an admirer of the Spaniard.
Mata Set for Extensive Discussions About His Future
The Spaniard's agent and father, Juan Sr., will arrive in London for negotiations before the weekend.
Mata has not played regularly under Jose Mourinho this season, and fears his place in the Spain World Cup squad is in danger, according to the report.
Mourinho Admits Mata Exclusion Hurts
Jose Mourinho acknowledged over the weekend that leaving Juan Mata out of his team has been very difficult for all parties.
As reported by the Daily Telegraph, Mourinho said he needed to pretend he had "a hard heart" in order to keep leaving Mata out of the team, despite the Spaniard's various qualities.
Jonathan Liew writes:
Only three times this season has Mata played a full 90 minutes for the club, and the playmaker reacted angrily to being substituted shortly after half-time against Southampton on Wednesday. After the 3-0 win at St Mary’s Mourinho appeared to leave open the possibility of Mata departing during the January transfer window, but ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Derby County, he said he would fight to keep him at the club.
“I try to do my job forgetting that I am a soft heart and pretending that I am a hard heart,” Mourinho said. “With decisions I have to make, many times it hurts me, many times it hurts him. But the best way to do my job is to think that the team is more important than any player. When I have to make decisions, I always try to be a cold one, icy, analysing the situation and trying to make the best decision for the team. But yes, it hurts me.”
The impasse centres on Mourinho’s belief that Oscar is superior in the No. 10 position just behind the striker. Despite being Chelsea’s player of the season two years running playing in that very role, Mata has been largely banished to the right wing this season, with its greater emphasis on raw pace and defensive responsibility. Mourinho again warned Mata that he must play for the team and not himself.