Juan Mata has not played for Chelsea since his infamous outburst after being substituted against Southampton on New Year’s Day. He has been on the bench, but Jose Mourinho has been reluctant to bring him on. Such tension usually results in the player being sold and it remains a distinct possibility with 10 days left in the transfer window.
Manchester United have been mooted as a possible destination for Mata. It could well become a reality after transfer rumours have spread about a possible £40 million bid from United. These transfer rumours have been so intense that they have been reported by every major tabloid in the UK.
Signed from Valencia for £24 million, Mata quickly endeared himself to Chelsea fans with consistent performances over the last two years. Yet, he has failed to win over Mourinho and it is not clear whether it is due to personal or professional reasons. The form of Hazard, Willian, and Oscar makes it doubly difficult for the Spaniard to get back into the team.
Still just 25, Mata is at the time in his career where he will want to play regularly. The amicable solution at this moment is a sale.
But why should United be the destination for Mata? After all, United refused to sell Wayne Rooney – despite the player being heavily interested – in the summer claiming that they would not strengthen a direct rival.
Of course, United are not a direct rival to Chelsea this campaign after falling 12 points behind the blues, but that does not mean to say that they will not be in the future. Selling a player like Mata is not only going to strengthen United directly, but also indirectly as well.
Right now, top players may be sceptical about a move to Old Trafford, but if Mata were to move there, he would provide the necessary pulling power (not that United lack any in the first place) to bring other top players as well.
And £40 million for the Spaniard in this current transfer market looks absurd considering that Gareth Bale cost more than double that figure. If a player, who is untested at the top level, goes for such a figure, then a World Cup and Champions League winner should be closer to that mark.
Either way, Chelsea should adopt United’s stance and resist any lure to sell him.