Did Mourinho drop a huge hint he could sell Mata to United back in August?

Jose Mourinho made it clear that he had no trouble selling to domestic rivals during the summer.

Manchester United are on the verge of getting their hands on Juan Mata. The Chelsea midfielder arrived at the clubs training ground via the typical Transfer Window mode of transportation - a helicopter.

He has now been snapped meeting with David Moyes and wearing a Manchester United polo shirt - so it is safe to say this is a done deal.

For many it has come as a surprise deal.

Mata may not be a ‘Mourinho player’ - and has therefore not received as much playing time as he has in the past - but he is still world class.

He has won Chelsea player of the year two seasons running and is something of an assist machine.

So despite the obvious difference in opinion between the player and coach over playing time it is still surprising that Chelsea would sell him to a Premier League rival.

But if we look back at Mourinho’s comments from August we can see that there was always a hint of a deal for the player.

In the summer Mourinho wanted Wayne Rooney. The United striker was reportedly unsettled at Old Trafford toward the end of last season - and he was expected to be out of the club after it appeared relations were beyond repair.

Rooney is now talking over a contract extension with the club - so a move to Chelsea looks unlikely.

However, when Chelsea were trying to snap him up in August Mourinho made these comments - which now seem prophetic:

"That old-fashioned mentality of 'I don't sell players to the same country' doesn't help the market and doesn't help the players. You see in Italy, it happens every season without any problem.”

"Sometimes you push players abroad when you should be interested in keeping them in your league, because when you keep players in your league you are contributing to make your league the best league.”

“So when you want to sell and you are pushing the players abroad I think you are giving the wrong contribution to the league where you are."

image: © Ben Sutherland

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