The only way Chelsea will sell Mata to Manchester United or Liverpool...

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has stated he would allow Spanish midfielder Juan Mata to leave Stamford Bridge this January.

Although the Portuguese coach admitted he would not stand in the way of a play that wanted to leave the Blues, he also expressed his hope that the 25-year-old playmaker will remain at Chelsea.

Rumours have swept the nation’s tabloids and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook as fans of rival clubs eye a chance to make a move for the Spain international.

According to The Telegraph, Paris Saint-Germain lead the race to capture the midfielder in January – with the obvious reason being Chelsea’s reluctance to let such a talented player strengthen a direct domestic rival.

However, The Express claims that Chelsea will not allow him to go to another Premier League club at all and whilst I would tend to agree with that assertion, given how much of a difference he could make to the title challenge of the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool should he sign, I’m not so sure it’s as simple as that.

In my humble opinion, I agree that Jose Mourinho is not foolish enough to let a world-class player and undoubtedly one of the Blues’ most technically gifted players if not the most, go to the champions or title rivals Liverpool – unless of course Chelsea got something out of it that they desperately need to strengthen their own title challenge.

With that in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if, given Chelsea’s lacklustre options at centre-forward, the Blues would cut a deal with either United or Liverpool over Mata that would suit all parties ideally.

Chelsea would love Luis Suarez, for example, but there is (in my opinion) zero percent chance of Liverpool letting him go, especially after he has just signed a new £200K-a-week deal to keep him until 2018. They’re not likely to let Daniel Sturridge return to Chelsea and I doubt the play would want to either so, for me, I don’t think Liverpool is a likely destination for Mata due to the fact Chelsea wouldn’t gain anything they need (other than the player’s valuation) for the deal.

However, Manchester United, on the other hand have an abundance of centre-forwards – in fact more than David Moyes can even fit into a squad rotation system when they’re all fit and available. Wayne Rooney has been heavily linked with Chelsea all across the summer and the England number 10 has still yet to commit his future to the champions beyond 2015 when his contract expires.

Robin van Persie has been linked (however loosely) with a move away from Old Trafford and Javier Hernandez is not getting enough first-team action to satisfy his ambition at present.

Juan Mata is thought to be worth around £35 million in terms of the cash it would take to get the deal done with PSG or whoever else. Wayne Rooney would surely be worth around that same figure and Van Persie is in that same bracket also.

Hernandez would be the player with the question marks around him – he is closer to a £20 million striker but with his Premier League, Champions League and international experience, never mind his obvious quality, and the fact he can’t get in Moyes’ team as often as he’d like, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a deal that could be struck between the two clubs.

If United, just for example, offered Chelsea £10 million plus Chicharito for Juan Mata would Mourinho be tempted? I think so – Chelsea are still trying to balance their books ahead of the FFP regulations so they know they can’t really spend £50-odd million in January on a top striker without selling off other assets and complicating the process.

Would Moyes be willing to let a top player with undoubted quality and potential go if was able to bring in a world-class playmaker on the level of a Cesc Fabregas? I think if it was Rooney or Van Persie, he’d say no but he barely uses Hernandez when they’re fit and he has still got Danny Welbeck to factor into the equation as well.

Would Juan Mata go to United? I think it would suit him down to the ground – he could stay on the same wages, be the key playmaker United desperately need ahead of the World Cup to cement his place in the Spain national team at the most famous and popular club on the planet with the likes of Van Persie, and Rooney working ahead of him.

I think that would be the only scenario that would suit all parties and, thus, the only way Juan Mata is going to transfer to a Premier League club this January. If Liverpool want him, they'd have to give up Suarez and that i not an option for Brendan Rodgers and I don't believe there is another club that would be able to attract the player enough to keep him from the temptation of PSG.

images: © Ben Sutherland, © geetarchurchy

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