Jose Mourinho insists he wants to keep Juan Mata at Chelsea, but has advised the player that the door is open if he decides to leave.
Mata was exceptional for the Blues last season, to such an extent there was talk in the summer that Barcelona could be lining up a huge bid to lure him back to his homeland. This term, though, the former Valencia player has had little more than a bit-part role at Stamford Bridge, with Mourinho starting him in just nine Premier League games.
The latest of these matches came on New Year’s Day when, with the score at 0-0, the Spaniard was substituted on 53 minutes. This decision clearly angered the 25-year-old, who refused to shake Mourinho’s hand when leaving the field and instead flung his arms up in the direction of the Portuguese coach, before being calmed by Michael Essien.
After the match, which the Blues went on to win 3-0 thanks in no small part, ironically, to Oscar who replaced Mata, Mourinho insisted that this reaction was down to the scoreline at the time and not due to being substituted. He also went on to explain that whilst he wants to keep the playmaker, he is prepared to discuss the future of the unhappy star.
“I want to keep him. I don’t want him to go. That is my opinion, my wish, but my door is open,” he said. “The club’s door is open so when a player wants to speak to us we are there waiting for them. If you are asking do you want the club to sell him? I don’t want to.”
As well as Barca, Real Madrid are also likely to be interested should Mata become available, whilst Rafael Benitez, who coached him at Stamford Bridge last season, would welcome him to Napoli. And French superpowers Paris St Germain would also be expected to join the bidding for one of the most creative players in European football.
Manchester United were also credited with an interest in Mata during the summer, but Mourinho would be reluctant to sell to a rival club – unless, of course, David Moyes is willing to include Wayne Rooney as part of the package.