When Chelsea submitted their first bid for Wayne Rooney, which was instantly rejected by Manchester United, reports initially suggested that the London club have offered Juan Mata in exchange for Wayne Rooney. But the Blues were quick to release an official statement rubbishing these claims and insisted that the Spaniard is not for sale.
ESPN is now reporting that Manchester United have made an informal enquiry about the availability of Juan Mata. It is yet to be known whether this enquiry was part of the negotiations between both the clubs for Wayne Rooney.
Although Mourinho has publicly insisted that Juan Mata remains an important part of the Chelsea squad, a lot of experts believe that Juan Mata is not the type of midfield play-maker that Mourinho prefers. Chelsea at the moment have a lot of options in the attacking half of the midfield. The presence of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle, Moses and Oscar means that the London club are well covered in that part of the pitch. Moreover, it is believed that Mourinho, who wants quick transition in play, prefers quick and athletic attacking midfielders. The recent rumours linking Chelsea to Willian has also provided further fuel to this speculation that Chelsea might be willing to part ways with Mata.
Mourinho has insisted that Chelsea will continue their chase for Wayne Rooney till the window closes and the London club are said to be preparing a final bid for the Englishman. Manchester United’s interest in Mata could help Chelsea in negotiating with the Red Devils, using the Spaniard as a bargaining cheap in their effort to land Rooney. Despite the presence of Torres, Ba and Lukaku, it is apparent that Chelsea lack more in depth upfront than what they do in the attacking half of the midfield – so despite Mata being a fan favourite, it would perhaps make sense for them to sacrifice him in order to strengthen upfront. With a striker like Rooney leading the line, Chelsea will unquestionably become the favourites for the Premier League title.
But the question remains, where would Mata fit into the Manchester United squad?
With the World Cup looming large over the horizon, the Spaniard would want regular first team football next season. He will probably have to compete with Kagawa for a spot in David Moyes’ starting eleven. While Mata was often played out wide at Chelsea, he is unlikely to be played in that role at United since he is not the type of natural wingers that United prefer.
United’s priority this summer was a central midfielder – someone who can partner Carrick and reduce United’s dependency on the Englishman. But Mata’s arrival would hardly solve that problem, it will only further congest a part of the squad which is brimming in quality and quantity. Moreover, Mata is not a direct replacement for Rooney, while he is a fantastic footballer with brilliant technical ability – he is not as flexible as the former Everton striker. In fact there are few footballers who can replace someone like Rooney and what he brought to the side. Mata will definitely add quality in the final third with his vision and passing range, but it will hugely undermine Kagawa’s presence in the squad – as this was expected to be the breakthrough season for the former Dortmund star.
Having speculated all these, United are yet to submit an official offer for Juan Mata, but one can expect to hear a lot more of this Rooney-Mata sag in the coming days as the transfer window draws to an end.