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Mata should head for Serie A, but not Juventus

Juan Mata needs a loan move to reignite his career but the ideal Serie A destination isn't Juventus, it's Napoli.

Frozen out of Jose Mourinho's plans, Juan Mata has little choice but to leave Stamford Bridge with a January loan move looking sensible and Napoli could be the perfect place for him.

Mourinho has made it perfectly clear that he doesn't see Mata as a key member of his squad and once the Special One has made up his mind it's a long road back.

One of last season's stars cannot afford to sit on the bench indefinitely and with next summer's World Cup looming large, Mata needs to find some playing time elsewhere.

Recent rumours have suggested that Juventus head the queue of clubs looking to secure the Spaniard on a temporary basis.

However, a move to Turin doesn't make much sense. Juve have hit form and just moved top of the Serie A table with victory at Livorno, albeit probably temporarily, and much of that success is owed to their rampant midfield.

With Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio, Paul Pogba and Andrea Pirlo rotating in Antonio Conte's midfield and Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez forming a solid front two, there's very little obvious space for Mata. 

Of course Mata on form could earn his place in any side in the world, but the Bianconeri are hardly calling out for him, in fact he could end up on the bench.

A better bet would surely be Juve's Serie A rivals Napoli where Mata's former boss and compatriot Rafa Benitez would greet him with open arms.

The Partenopei are still in the Scudetto race and the fanatical welcome that Gonzalo Higuain received and his subsequent renaissance can be an inspiration for Mata.

Most importantly, Napoli really need Mata. The wheels have come off for the Azzurri somewhat in recent weeks after a 3-0 defeat against Juventus and a shock 1-0 reverse at home to Napoli.

One problem for Benitez, who is fighting a draining Champions League campaign as well as chasing the Scudetto, is a lack of strength in depth, especially in creative midfield positions.

Mata would be guaranteed lots of game time in front of capacity crowds while being a key figure in a title race plus he would be working with a coach he knows and can communicate with in his native tongue.

Six months in Campania could boost Mata's confidence, raise his profile and help him book his ticket to Brazil - plus he could become a Partenopei legend into the bargain.

image: © Wshjackson

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