Juan Mata Transfer Rumours: Latest News on the Chelsea Star
The Blues' Player of the Year two years in succession, Mata has found himself overtaken by Brazilians Oscar and Willian under Jose Mourinho, while Eden Hazard has excelled on the flank.
However, for now, Chelsea have also resisted selling their former key creative outlet, despite the player showing visible signs of frustration in recent weeks.
What, then, does the future hold for Mata? Follow daily progress of news regarding his future right here at Bleacher Report.
—LAST UPDATED SUNDAY JAN 19—
Mata "Has a Big Role to Play" Says Mourinho
Sunday 19 January
In an interview broadcast on BBC Sport's Football Focus this Saturday lunchtime, Jose Mourinho has spoken of his desire to keep Spaniard Mata at Stamford Bridge for the second time in the space of a week.
Per the BBC website, the interview (available to those based in UK) is described as follows:
Jose Mourinho tells BBC Sport's Dan Walker he is "still the happy one" despite his Chelsea side being "far" from realising their potential.
The Chelsea boss also discusses midfielder Juan Mata's struggle to retain a place in the side, admitting it is "hard" for the Spaniard to sit on the bench, but insisting he still has a "has a big role to play".
Chelsea fans will be glad to hear such reassuring words about their playmaker's future, but will wonder just when this big role will come.
In a World Cup year, there can be no doubting that Mata will be concerned with his current playing time and he will be well aware of the widespread interest in his services from many of Europe's top clubs.
Mata "Could Be a Man Utd Player This Month
Saturday 18 January
The Spanish playmaker's links with Manchester United have continued to be peddled in the English media in the run up to the Red Devils' clash with Chelsea, with the Sunday People's Dean Jones reporting that the switch could be made later this month.
However, despite the dramatic headline, the article's text also makes it clear that any deal is unlikely, despite United having made contact over the player.
Manchester United have made contact in hope of doing a £20 million deal but a loan move to Atletico Madrid seems the most likely option now for the Spanish midfielder.
Mata’s father, Juan senior, acts as his agent and made a trip to London to discover whether he will be given more game time between now and the end of the season. But Chelsea officials could not make any promises and Mata is ready to seek a move.
The Blues, who value Mata at £30m, were previously interested in a United deal if it involved a swap with Wayne Rooney but that now seems unlikely.
Mata's frustrating season looks set to continue for the time being, with Jose Mourinho having settled upon an attacking midfield of Willian, Oscar and Eden Hazard in recent weeks.
With the team's form good and wins coming in quick succession, it looks unlikely that the Spaniard is set for a return anytime soon.
Manchester United Target Spanish Playmaker
Tuesday 14 January
Links between United and Mata are not new, with the reigning champions' form dictating that they are in the market for quality players this month as they seek to rescue what could be a terribly disappointing season.
Chelsea have flatly rejected the idea of selling Mata to a Premier League rival. But sources in Spain insist United have already spoken to Mata's agent and could tempt Chelsea's resolve with a £27m offer.
But any move for Mata looks doomed unless a deal could be agreed to send Wayne Rooney in the opposite direction.
And that is something boss David Moyes has so far refused to contemplate, despite Rooney having struggled with injuries this season.
While the information may well be solid, it would seem unlikely that Moyes would consider releasing Rooney, even with the Englishman's contract fast running down per the Guardian's Jamie Jackson.
Mata becoming a Red Devil, then, would appear unlikely.
Mourinho: Chelsea Need Mata
Monday 13 January
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho began the week by proclaiming that the Blues need to keep Juan Mata at Stamford Bridge for the rest of the season in case one of his current starters were to lose form.
Per Sky Sports, Mourinho made the comments after his side's fixture this weekend, in which Belgian Eden Hazard was the star man, but showed few signs of further including the Spaniard.
He is quoted as saying:
The others (Oscar, Willian, Eden Hazard), they are playing very well and the team is playing very well.
But we need other players. If the game goes on being 0-0 then Mata is coming into the game as he is a fantastic player. But the game went into another direction, we scored and then after that my brain worked in another way.
But we need them. We need Mata, we need (Andre) Schurrle, we need these players as we cannot do it with three. Maybe in February maybe some are not in the best form and Juan is coming at the top of his game.
The Spain attacking midfielder has started just two of Chelsea's 21 Premier League fixtures this season.
Bayern Enter the Ring for Mata
Monday 13 January
Chelsea would prefer not to sell to a Premier League rival, for obvious reasons, heightening the interest of several clubs around Europe. Per the Mirror's Dave Kidd, that list includes Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid.
While the Spaniards would only be looking to secure a loan for the player, Kidd suggests that Guardiola's Bayern would be willing to sanction a £20 million plus bid for the player.
The report states:
Mourinho insists Mata will not be allowed to join a Premier League rival but may now end up selling the player to Guardiola, with whom he endured a stormy relationship during their time in charge of Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Guardiola wants Bayern to table a summer bid of around £20 million to capture the man who was Chelsea’s player of the season for the past two campaigns.
The German giants will not go for Mata this month, though, as he is cup-tied for the Champions League and Guardiola wants to wait until the summer to make changes to his squad.
In his first season at the Bavarian club, Guardiola has spent heavily to improve a squad that were already Champions of Europe, with Mario Gotze and Thiago arriving to add creative quality in midfield.
Mata would be a further step in that direction and would cast doubt upon the Bayern future of Dutchman Arjen Robben, should he join Pole Robert Lewandowski in arriving at the Allianz Arena this summer.
Guardiola was never shy with his chequebook whilst at Barcelona and the diminutive Mata, with his wondrous technique, is just the kind of player he enjoys working with.