Chelsea: Has Mourinho pulled a blinder in selling Mata to Manchester United?
When Jose Mourinho returned to Chelsea he told the waiting media that he no longer wanted to be referred to as the Special One. He wanted to be known as the Happy One. But having agreed a deal to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for £37 million, should Jose pick up his former title?
There was a time when the rivalry between Chelsea and Manchester United was that intense that the prospect of selling their best players to each other would have been laughed out of town. Obviously that isn't the case any more, but is that because Chelsea do not see David Moyes's Manchester United as a threat or does Mourinho have a special plan up his sleeve.
It's true that Manchester United have been poor this season - and Mata has been unable to force his way into Jose's first team plans - and look like ending the campaign empty-handed, but United still have the backbone of their title winning side from last season. They are just adjusting to life under Moyes, who needs and should be given time to settle in at Old Trafford. United under Moyes will come good, but it definitely won't be this season.
Having just beaten United 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, and United out of the FA Cup, Chelsea's only chance of playing United comes in the Champions League. However, there's no chance of Mata coming back to haunt them this season as he is cup tied. But Mourinho knows that United are yet to play Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool and that Mata's presence for United could help his boys in blue to the title by taking points off Chelsea's main title rivals.
This transfer may have also smoothed the way for a certain Wayne Rooney to head south in the summer. Mourinho has long been an admirer of Rooney and speaks of him fondly, but recently admitted that their chances of landing him in the summer are faint. However, that may have all changed following this deal.
Mourinho has also worked wonders by forcing United to spend £37 million on a player who couldn't even get into his first team. What a move that is. For that amount of money you should be looking at signing a first-team regular, not a bench warmer. But these are special circumstances. Mata is a precocious talent. He can do things with the ball some professionals can only dream of and could walk into any side in the world. Unfortunately Mourinho wasn't convinced.
Personally I think Mata has the victim of a power battle with the boss. Mata was a fans' favourite at Stamford Bridge and I don't think Mourinho took too kindly to that. He wants to be the main man at Chelsea, not one of the players, and there was only ever going to be one winner in that battle.
Now Mata is a free man, able to express himself at the Theatre of Dreams, knowing that he has the opportunity and ability to guide United back to the top.
It's a great move for everyone involved. Chelsea get £37 million for a bench warmer and United get a top player with fresh legs into their midfield. But could this deal be the one that sees Chelsea crowned as Premier League champions in May? We shall have to sit back and wait and see.
Calling all Chelsea fans: Are you sad to see Mata leave the Bridge? Do you think Mourinho was right to axe Mata from the first team? Is the transfer fee a fair one? Do you think Chelsea can win the title? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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