Chelsea favourite could be Tottenham bound in January

Tottenham Hotspur manager André Villas-Boas is said to have been told by club Chairman Daniel Levy that funds are available for more players in the January transfer window - despite Tottenham bringing in 7 quality players over the summer.

And top of Villas-Boas' shopping list must surely be Chelsea's Juan Mata.

Signed during Villas-Boas' Chelsea tenure from Valencia in 2011, Mata was Chelsea's Player of the Year last season but appears to have fallen out of favour with manager José Mourinho.

Fans and critics can't understand why Mourinho won't start Mata with the versatile Oscar, but Mourinho said after the victory over Fulham today that Oscar won't be moved from the number 10 position.

Mourinho told Sky Sports after the game Saturday that he would like to play the two together, but Mata will have to learn to adapt first. The Chelsea manager said: 'Mata has to learn to play the way I want to play, has to be more consistent, has to win the ball'.

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With Mata needing first team football this season in order to ensure he makes the Spanish squad for the World Cup next year, a move to an ambitious club like Tottenham looks like an obvious one, especially given the André Villas-Boas connection. Tottenham fans will no doubt be salivating at the prospect of having Mata at the Lane.

Chelsea, however, do have the financial muscle to insist that Mata doesn't move to a main rival like Tottenham, and a move abroad cannot be ruled out.

Soccer pundit Jamie Redknapp has been vocal in his support for Mata at Chelsea, but Mourinho told Sky Sports that it was his job to pick the Chelsea team, and pointed out that his club now sit top of the Premier league.

Redknapp, however, said: 'Chelsea are a better team when Mata plays'.

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image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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