Mata: Chelsea the real winners in the end

So far a season of disappointment for Manchester United fans, one of the highlights of their campaign was securing the signing of Chelsea’s Juan Mata for a fee in the region of 37 million. There is no doubting the quality that the Spaniard has, but could Chelsea be the real winners in this deal with the way they have spent the money Mata has generated?

At Chelsea, Mata was worshipped. The fans of Chelsea were devastated when after days of speculation he arrived at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground complex via helicopter to complete the deal. Chelsea player of the year for the past two years speaks volumes for how highly regarded Mata was at Stamford Bridge.

However, under returning manager Jose Mourinho, Mata found himself become a fringe player who would make the occasional substitute appearance due to his lack of defensive capabilities, something Mourinho believes is crucial in his 4-2-3-1 formation he favours.

Mourinho spoke often of how he wanted to build the team round Oscar in the number ten role and sympathised with Mata’s new found role at the club. Mourinho knew it was unfair a player of Mata’s quality was demoted to the bench, but with the amount of attacking midfielders he had in his squad and the form of Oscar, Willian and Hazard “the special one” could not justify changing the system to accommodate Mata.

The £37 million they received for the attacking midfielder was immediately reinvested into the squad. First they brought in Matic for a fee around £20 million from Benfica, a defensive midfielder they desperately needed that adds steel and stability in the middle of the park. From the handful of games the Serbian has featured in, he has already started to show reasons why he was regarded as one of the best players in Portugal.

De Bruyne departing for the same reasons as Mata in search of game time left Chelsea suddenly a little short staffed in a position they were previously over crowded in. Mourinho felt he needed to bring in FC Basel’s Salah for around £11 million to compensate for the exodus of attacking midfielders. De Bruyne’s sale to Wolfsburg also generated around £16 million.

Finally, Chelsea continued with their policy of purchasing young talent and in Kurt Zouma they don’t come with much more potential than him. Signed from AS Saint Etienne for a fee of around £12 million, the centre back will continue his footballing development in France for the remainder of the season. A solid young defender, Zouma was chased by many top European clubs and Chelsea have done well to beat others to his signature.

However, could Chelsea one day rue the sale of their previous most prized asset, especially to a rival like Manchester United? Although they have not had the best of seasons, Manchester United are always a force and strengthening them with a player like Mata could trouble them. Mata is going to get game time under Moyes and there is no doubt he is the type of player that could kick-start a turn in the Red Devils’ fortunes.

In summary, Chelsea have sold a fringe player, all be it a fringe player of world class quality, for a decent amount of money and strengthened in an area they needed to, brought in a replacement for departing attacking midfielders and secured one of the brightest talents in Europe. Could this sale be a tactical master stroke from Jose?

2 thoughts on “Mata: Chelsea the real winners in the end

  1. Hello, this is @VtorDante.
    We had the luxury of player like Mata and Kevin sitting on the bench while we suffered in the defensive midfield department. Since Matic came we have been solid in the midfield because he protects the back four line and also initiates some of our best attacking moves. Against Man city and Spur, Matic outplayed Yaya Toure and Adebayor, thereby reducing the workload of Terry and Cahill. Even without a quality striker, we are top of the League, thanks to conceding less goals and winning games even when we are not at our best. We still have some funds left from our January business. A top striker in the summer will be our priority. I have to say Chelsea are the big winners here.

    1. I agree, excellent bit of business by Jose – although it looked crazy at the time.

      Looking forward to see the potential summer signings.

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