Mata is attracting interest from Italian giants Inter Milan.

Juan Mata attracting Interest From Inter Milan (by Ben Sutherland)

Chelsea’s Player of the Year for past two seasons, Juan Mata has struggled to find a regular spot in Jose Mourinho‘s side this season and has now joined Erik Lamela of Tottenham Hotspur as January transfer target of Italian giants Inter Milan.

English newspaper Daily Mirror has reported today that Inter Milan have identified the midfielder as one of their top targets during the January transfer window and are preparing a bid.

Indonesian businessman Erik Thohir took the control of the Italian side FC Internazionale in the last month and now expected to splash the cash in January transfer window in order to challenge for the lucrative Champions League spot.

Inter Milan are in the market for an attacking midfielder and striker as they are over reliant on Rodrigo Palacio to score goals and Mata certainly fits the bill for the Italians. The likes of Ricky Alvarez and Fredy Guarin have been scoring goals but their form remains inconsistent to say the least and Coach Walter Maazzari would welcome world class addition like Juan Mata with open arms.

However, the Blues boss is reluctant to let the Spaniard depart. Mata is keen to augment his World Cup chances ahead of next summer’s event and may well push a move abroad in order to do so.

The 25-year-old former Valencia star is thought to be on a shortlist of San Siro side, which also includes Tottenham’s Erik Lamela – who has failed to live up to his huge £30m transfer fee.

 Essien Set to Depart in January

Essien is also expected to move out in January.

The Ghanaian is widely expected to leave the club next month, with Greek champions Olympiacos joining the race for his signature. Agent of the Ghana International has confirmed the news.

Fabian Piveteau, who represents the midfielder, has revealed that a number of “major European clubs” have been notified of Essien’s potential availability – with his freedom to play in the Champions League a key attraction – and is keen for any deal to be finalised swiftly.

“[Essien] could leave Chelsea this winter,” Piveteau told French radio station RMS.  “Several major European clubs playing in the Champions League were informed and the situation should settle down within the next 10 days.You should know that Michael was not on the list of players who can play in the Champions League with Chelsea, so he is free to play in the competition with another club.”

Recent rumours have linked Essien with return to his former side Bastia. But Piveteau was quick to rule out this story.

“A come-back at Bastia? We must stop with this,” he said. “Michael plays at Chelsea, a big club. In Ligue 1 he could play only at Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon … But Bastia, FC Sochaux – without disrespect, no. For them to support the salary of a Chelsea player, it is already impossible.”