With the European domestic leagues done and dusted for the summer, and the Confederations Cup nearly at an end, silly season is truly upon us. The arrival of Jose Mourinho at Chelsea has given rise to some ridiculous transfer rumours, the most notable of these being that The Especially Happy One is looking to sell Juan Mata to Barcelona.
Matthew Morlidge of The Daily Mail reported that the return of youngster Kevin De Bruyne and the arrival of Andre Schurrle has left Mourinho wondering where to fit the Spaniard into his team. According to The Express, the story from Spain is that Mourinho does not rate Juan Mata highly and will block a potential pay rise for the Spanish star. The same source also states that Barcelona are ready to make an offer for Mata.
Why Roman Abramovich would want to sell his star player to the very club whose performances he is trying to emulate remains a mystery, and the claims that Mourinho does not rate Mata highly are laughable.
Mourinho, like most people involved in the world of football, has eyes. He will have seen the performances that Mata has put in over the past two years at Chelsea, and the impact he has on the team as a collective.
Starting with the basics, Mata scored 20 goals in all competitions for the Blues in 2012-13, an improvement on the 12 goals he returned in his debut season. He also racked up 28 assists, meaning that he was involved in 48 of Chelsea's 150 goals in all competitions.
Considering that those goals returned one trophy across the season, the result without Mata in the side would surely be worse. In the four Premier League games that he missed entirely last season, Chelsea scored four goals and picked up three points from a possible 12, highlighting how vital he is to the team.
These numbers are enough to argue Mata's role in the team all on their own, but he does all of that while playing some of the most attractive football the Stamford Bridge faithful have seen since the days of Gianfranco Zola.
Chelsea supporters love Juan Mata. In the two years he has been at the club, they have voted him as their Player of the Year twice. The relationship between the club and the supporters was damaged last season during the managerial fiasco in November, and whilst the return of Jose Mourinho has gone some way to repairing that damage, selling the fans' favourite player would send them back to square one.
Mata's performances so far have secured his legacy as a cult hero, but his age and talent make him a genuine prospect to join the ranks of the legends. Despite appearances to the contrary, there are more important things than money in football, and no amount of cash would undo the damage that selling Mata would do to Chelsea right now.
Ten years of Roman Abramovich have taught us that the relative craziness of an idea does not necessarily impact on the likelihood of it happening, but he would have to be certifiable to even consider this deal.