This weekend has seen Chelsea storm ahead of rivals Arsenal in the race to sign Spanish international Juan Mata from Valencia. With the clubs believed to have agreed a fee in the region of £27m, the player himself confirmed via Twitter on Monday that he was indeed travelling to London to complete a medical.
At the age of just 23 Mata has already won the World Cup with Spain and was part of their U21 team that the European Championships this summer in Denmark. Though perhaps the reason Andre Villas-boas has decided to spend such a vast amount of money of him has a lot to do with striker Fernando Torres.
Chelsea of have made no secret of the fact that they need more creativity in their midfield and with Argentine Javier Pastore opting to join PSG and so far two failed bids for Spurs’ Luka Modric, Mata could prove to be some shrewd business by the Portuguese.
Mata could well be seen as the key to getting the best out of his countryman Torres and all those associated with Chelsea will be hoping this is the case. After his high profile £50m transfer from Liverpool Torres somewhat struggled with life in his new team and failed to recapture the form he showed on Merseyside.
Now with the addition of Mata, who can operate as a wide man or in a more central position, Torres’ problems may well be a thing of the past. During the U21 Championships Mata along with Thiago Alcantra was arguably the standout player of the tournament, possessing great vision and a superb passing game.
Earlier on in the summer it had been Arsenal not Chelsea that were favourites to complete a deal but after failing to agree a fee with Valencia it was Chelsea who stepped in the capitalise on the young Spaniard.
Having began his career with Real Madrid, in their Castilla or ‘B’ Team he agreed to join Valencia due to a clause in his contract. During his time there he played 129 matches scoring 33 goals, he has also represented Spain at every level from U16’s to full international.
Perhaps one reason to suggest why Torres could benefit from Mata’s addition to the Chelsea squad is that whilst at Anfield he enjoyed a successful on field relationship with another Spaniard, Xavi Alonso, the two linked superbly and Alonso contributed to a number of the striker’s 65 goals for Liverpool.
Villas-boas will be hoping that securing Mata’s signature will have a similar effect and who knows we could even see the arrival of Modric to add yet more creativity and flair to this new look Chelsea.
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