Juan Mata has been the talk of the soccer world, as he is on the brink of either staying with Chelsea or leaving for Manchester United. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has told ESPN FC that he doesn’t want the 25-year-old to leave, but hints that he won’t stand in Mata’s way.
Clearly Mata will have a high price tag. However, no matter how much Mata ends up being worth in a checkbook if he is sold, he’s worth more to Chelsea on the field.
The Blues have had a scoring deficiency from their strikers, as many of their goals and assists have come from the midfield. Having Mata in the lineup offers offensive support.
Although he hasn’t had a strong season in terms of scoring goals, it may have something to do with only playing the full 90 minutes in three games. With less time on the field, it’s hard to produce the same numbers as last season, when he enjoyed three times the amount of full games and scored 19 goals.
His creativity and ability to beat players help him set up plays to offer more scoring opportunities for the forwards. Although he doesn’t help the most on defense, that isn’t where the team needs the majority of its help.
Until Chelsea's strikers are able to produce goals, the club needs a midfield that can find the back of the net.
Mata was awarded the Chelsea Player of the Year award for the second year in a row and Players’ Player of the Year in 2013. He is clearly a player that his teammates admire and the organization deems an important asset to the team.
Mata has been limited to only 11 starts for the season and his frustration appeared to reach a boiling point when he was pulled out early in the second half of the club's New Year’s Day game.
The midfield has had trouble with its passing game recently. Adding Mata's technical skills and close control could help the Blues with cleaner passing throughout the season.
Talks have heated up over the past few days regarding whether or not Mata will be leaving. This issue has taken the Twitter world by storm. The latest word from ESPN FC doesn't make the outcome look hopeful for Chelsea.
Mata is a highly desirable player whose value may be overlooked by Mourinho until it is too late.