Date:Thursday January 23 2014
A lot can change in a few hours. Since my last article, it seems Man United have made an official bid for Juan Mata in the region of £35 million. Chelsea are apparently readying themselves to reject the offer in an attempt to drive up the sum. Bloody right.
If this transfer goes through, we are letting go of probably the best number 10 in the league [No Arsenal, Ozil isn't even close] to a direct rival. United. Manchester bloody United. I have faith in Mourinho, I really do. I place total and unconditional trust in his methods and truly believe he will lead us to greatness. But I really think this is a mistake. A mistake of massive proportions that could have just the wrong effect on our season and just the right effect on relegation battlers United.
The Oscar/Mata conundrum rumbles on in the background of all this. Don't get me wrong, Oscar is a superb player. He's fast, agile and fantastic on the ball. He's better off the ball than Mata, no question. But is 'better off the ball' a quality we look for in a number 10?
Obviously, I wouldn't dream of criticizing Jose but lets take a look at some stats. Mata made 63 appearances for Chelsea last season, scoring 19 and assisting 35 whereas Oscar, from a similar position, played 64, scored 12 and assisted 11. Contrast? Ok, so it was Oscar's first season but it was only Mata's second. Neither are established veterans of the Premier League and I believe Mata is still our number 10. My point is something of a broken record as plenty of people have made it before but I do feel that Oscar possesses the qualities to be a holding midfielder. The stats speak for themselves. Mata doesn't track back as effectively as Oscar. We've established that so why are we persisting with Oscar in the number 10 role? I actually don't think he's been especially good recently and I'm adamant he'd be more effective in the holding role alongside the likes of Matic/Ramires. Mata, Willian and Hazard? Sounds good to me.
Additionally, why are we selling him to United?! They strung us along nicely with Rooney and probably laughed as we floundered with Eto'o and Demba Ba. It appears that club decorum states that the next logical step, having been mugged off by United, is to sell them one of our best players at discount price? Yer, definitely, sounds logical.
As I write, Spanish football expert Guiliem Balague has tweeted 'All agreed. Juan Mata will be a Manchester United player. 45 million euros. All will be announced very soon.' Bloody hell. I mean speculation is often fictitious rubbish but this is sounding more and more concrete.
Still nothing official from either club and the longer it remains that way then the more speculation will churn. Mata is a fan favourite, a modest, down to earth type of guy and even the pedestal that Chelsea fans have placed Mourinho on will be shaken if we sell Mata.
I will be watching the United game for any signs of Mata in the crowd. If he is there, he'll hopefully be dissuaded by the pathetic band of cheating individuals they call players. All I can hope is that, if we do sell the special Juan, we are doing it with a view of buying big for a world class striker in the summer.
One last point. When the BBC come out and say something about a transfer, you know its happening. They are about as close as I get to official without the clubs getting involved. However, I had a look through the archives and it seems they aren't very accurate when it comes to Mata. When Chelsea signed him in 2011, they described him as a 'winger' and Andy Brassell said that, although he could play in the middle, he 'would be very surprised if he did for Chelsea '. Astute judgement there mate. Lets hope their supposed 'analysis' is recurrent in quality this time around.
Date:Thursday January 23 2014
Champions League - Match Day Moments 2 (Wednesday April 23 2014)
FA To Get Their Pound of Flesh (Wednesday April 23 2014)
Stats: Atletico Madrid v Chelsea (Wednesday April 23 2014)
Jose is Marmite (Wednesday April 23 2014)
That Chelsea Spirit (Wednesday April 23 2014)
Cech Out for Remainder of Season! (Wednesday April 23 2014)
Stat Attack - Atletico (a) (Wednesday April 23 2014)
Terry Out for Rest of Season? (Wednesday April 23 2014)
Should Jose Play the Kids? (Wednesday April 23 2014)
Cole Interesting Real (Wednesday April 23 2014)
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