Could a Rooney-Mata swap actually happen?

Juan Mata

Chelsea want the England forward, while the Spaniard’s importance at Chelsea appears to have taken a dip since Jose Mourinho took charge…..

It is hard to know what to believe in the silly season that is the transfer window, as speculation and rumours rule the roost for three months of the summer. In one of the latest rumblings there has been a notion that Juan Mata could be used as a makeweight in Chelsea’s bid for Wayne Rooney. Initially I laughed it off as transfer nonsense, but on second reflection it may actually be of benefit to both teams and actually makes sense.

Chelsea’s pursuit of Wayne Rooney has not been subtle, with the Blues openly admitting that they are keen to bring the England international to Stamford Bridge. The player’s body language suggests he is unsettled at the club, while the Blues need a world-class striker to pioneer their quest for honours.

With Jose Mourinho admitting that a third Chelsea bid for Rooney is in the pipeline for after the clubs play each other on Monday night, United’s resolve is set to be tested again.

Although United have said that Rooney is not for sale and have turned down two Chelsea bids already this summer, the forward no longer holds the importance that he once did at Old Trafford. Danny Welbeck has stepped up to the plate at the start of this term and looks set to finally reach his potential. The Premier League champions also have Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez as potential strike partners for main man Robin van Persie.

Despite the fact that United will not want to sell Rooney to title rivals Chelsea, a deal that was to involve Juan Mata may well have the Red Devils’ chiefs more interested.

The Spanish playmaker was a crucial player for Chelsea last term and the idea of selling him initially sounds preposterous. However, earlier in the summer there were whispers, just whispers, that Mourinho could well offload the attacking midfielder to Barcelona or Real Madrid for a substantial windfall.

In the Blues’ opening game of the season against Hull, Mata was a surprise omission, sitting on the bench and not getting any game time. Fitness issues were coined as the reason, and it was seemingly business as usual when the former Valencia man started against Aston Villa on Wednesday night.

However, another twist in the tail has emerged in the last 12 hours. The British media have wholeheartedly suggested that Chelsea are ready to hijack Tottenham’s bid to sign Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian. Surely not I say, as they already have more than enough players in that position – unless one is leaving?

There are huge amounts of ifs and buts for this swap deal to ever become a reality, but in a strange way it kind of makes sense.

Chelsea need a striker, want Rooney, but United will not sell him. United want a creative midfield player and have been foiled in their attempts to sign one all-summer long.

Could the inclusion of Mata in a deal for Rooney convince the Premier League champions to sell the star to their rivals? And who would get the better deal out of the swap?

image: © Wshjackson

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