Chelsea sweat on future of playmaker as Arsenal prepare to launch summer transfer bid.
Arsenal are keeping tabs on Juan Mata as Chelsea consider the Spain international’s future, reports the Daily Mail.
The 25 year-old has been a huge success at Stamford Bridge since moving in 2011, winning the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and FA Cup, but there are doubts over whether returning boss Jose Mourinho wants him in his Blues side.
Mourinho has long favoured quick, direct play – not through long balls, but through players passing up the pitch quickly.
Real Madrid’s lightning fast counterattacks were the Portuguese manager’s answer to FC Barcelona’s tiki taka last season, and it proved successful, with los Meringues winning four, drawing three and only losing one of their last eight matches against the Catalan side.
Though his talent is hardly in doubt, Juan Mata could be described as more of a Barcelona footballer than a Mourinho player.
He slows play in order to select the right pass, sometimes keeping it simple or passing backwards to retain possession, and isn’t as direct or explosive as new signing Andre Schurrle, Eden Hazard or even Oscar.
There is merit to his approach – and Spain’s and indeed Chelsea’s success in recent years is certainly proof to that, but rumours of Mata leaving Stamford Bridge persist – despite his phenomenal return of twelve goals and twelve assists last season making him arguably the Blues’ best player.
It is easy to see why Arsenal want Mata, and the Gunners came close to signing the Spaniard before he moved to Stamford Bridge.
However, when asked earlier this week if there was a possibility Mata would be sold this summer, Mourinho was quite clear:
“No chance, no chance,” said Mourinho.