Mata Transfer Will Shake Up Premier League Title Race

Aaron Bower@@aaronbowerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2014

Chelsea's Juan Mata, celebrates after scoring his teams second goal during their English League Cup soccer match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates stadium in London Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

If Juan Mata's expected transfer to Manchester United does go through, it is likely to be the biggest move of the January transfer window—at least in the Premier League.

It marks a remarkable coup for David Moyes that he has been able to land a player who has effectively won it all—on both a club and international scale. Though, with United 14 points off the pace at the top of the Premier League, it is unlikely to be a signing that will haul the defending champions back into a title race of any kind.

However, don't be fooled into thinking that this transfer will simply affect Manchester United. The fact is, the transfer of Mata could have a farther-reaching impact—on the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and the club he is set to leave behind.

There is no doubt Jose Mourinho is a master tactician and mind-games supremo. Every decision he makes is with another decision in mind. Could Mourinho be finally caving in and selling Mata at a key time of the season for his Chelsea outfit?

We shouldn't forget that Chelsea completed their domestic programme against the defending champions last weekend, with a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge. They are the only side of the current top four to have faced United twice so far in the league.

Has Mourinho let Mata fly the nest to perhaps have a defining say in bringing the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge? It is certainly something Arsene Wenger believes to be true, per the official Arsenal website:

They could have sold him last week but it opens at least the opportunity [to question] the dates of this transfer window. Some teams have already played twice against one opponent and some others not.

Does Wenger have a point? Perhaps. The quality and calibre of a player like Juan Mata is bound to improve United's fortunes. They face Arsenal in four games' time in the Premier League—with the Gunners still setting the pace at the top of the division.

There can be little question over Mourinho's ability at manipulating situations to suit himself. By letting Mata go—especially at a time when Chelsea have just completed their duo of fixtures against United—he could have just swung the title race in Chelsea's favor.