THE CASE OF JUAN MATA

Juan Mata’s situation is one of particular intrigue; rather, where on earth have the reports linking the Chelsea maestro with an unceremonious exit come from? And while many have dismissed the matter offhand, including Chelsea big-boss Jose Mourinho, the issue still remains like an irretrievable thumb-tack on the bottom of a shoe for the Chelsea faithful.
Football journalism is a multi-faceted operation; where else could a manager bluntly tell reporters that the player will not leave, but still wake up to a plethora of links and stories professing uncertainty over that same player.
“There is no chance Juan goes,” Jose Mourinho told reporters after the 0-0 draw with Manchester United last Monday. But these definitive six-words have done almost nothing in quelling the media storm over Mata.
Chelsea have been snapping up wingers and attacking midfielders with reckless abandon this summer. Only last week, Brazilian trickster, Willian, joined the increasingly crowded segment of the Blues’ squad, and winger Christian Atsu put pen-to-paper at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, moving in a £3.5m deal.
From a Tottenham point of view, Chelsea are playing the role of school yard bully, snatching new toys from their quivering grip on an almost weekly basis. Atsu had been on Tottenham boss, Andre Villas-Boas’ radar; and Willian had undergone a medical at White Hart Lane. But Roman Abramovich’s intervention decided the destination of the 24-year-old, allowing for Jose Mourinho, much to his own amusement, to wax lyrical over the North London club’s ‘naivety’ over potential transfer dealings.
With Atsu likely to return to Porto in a loan move, and Victor Moses all but sure to complete a loan move to Liverpool before the window slams shut on Monday, Juan Mata’s name seems to be next on the ‘to go’ list, if the reports are to be believed.
Mata’s ‘fall from grace’ has been quite extraordinary. Arguably the engine in the Chelsea vehicle for the last two seasons, the 25-year-old has been the envy of many, putting in world class performances on a weekly basis as the Blues won both the Champions League and then the Europa League with the Spaniard pulling the strings.
It is believed that Mourinho is not convinced by Mata’s defensive abilities on the pitch, with the likes of Schurrle, Oscar and De Bruyne more aware of their duties when without the ball. Eden Hazard has been criticised for his lack of tracking back during last season, but his still youthful malleability, and raw talent has seen Mourinho take an immediate liking to the Belgian.
But just imagine the absolute outrage if say Arsenal were to suddenly drop Santi Cazorla; or Barcelona were to cut Leo Messi from the ranks; or Madrid were to remove club legend Iker Casillas from the picture..?
Well, Mourinho certainly got an earful for that little episode last year, but with Carlo Ancelotti continuing to keep Casillas on the bench for the opening two games of the new La Liga season; perhaps Jose wasn’t wrong about the current state of the Spanish captain?
Would that therefore mean that a little faith in the ‘Happy One’ wouldn’t be totally misplaced, even concerning something so incomprehensible?
It is highly unlikely, due to the lack of time remaining in the summer transfer window, that he will be allowed to leave on Monday, but the issue may rear its ugly head once more in January. The Spaniard will be particularly conscious of the reports, what with the World Cup in Brazil fast approaching. Having been left out of the Spain squad for this week’s round of international fixtures, Mata knows that first-team football is a must in what will be a crucial season in his career.
What is certain here is that losing Mata would be horrifying for Chelsea fans world-wide.

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