Jose Mourinho revealed some of his plans recently when he told Sky Sports that clever attacker Juan Mata will fit his preference of having a left-footed player patrolling the right flank. The Portuguese boss indicated that the Spanish star will most likely be seeing time at a new position in the upcoming season. Speculation of Mata leaving Chelsea earlier this summer was silenced after the playmaker began negotiating a new contract with the club, squashing all rumors.
“Of course he fits into my plans,” the Blues gaffer told Sky Sports over the speculation of an exit.
“I have my idea about him, about where he produces better and where he has more difficulty. We will try to help him perform better in those situations. I’ve always liked a right-sided player to be left-footed.
“I started with (Arjen) Robben and (Damien) Duff, then (Goran) Pandev at Inter, and (Angel) Di Maria and (Mesut) Ozil. Many clubs do it. It’s more than a tendency.
“I like wingers coming in on the inside for the penetrative movement, for the pass, for the shot. And Juan is the only player we have to do that on the right.
“On the left we have (Eden) Hazard, Victor Moses, Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle. Juan is also very comfortable playing as a No10. In between these two positions, he has a lot to give to the team.”
Mata, who was seen primarily as the center attacking midfielder off of the forward or left winger last season for the Blues, will see time at a more unfamiliar position if playing on the right-hand side. The 25 year old will look to transition after a season in which he netted 12 goals along with 12 assists and also claimed a spot on the PFA Team of the Year.
Other teams caught notice of the impressive performances and production that the shifty trequartista was able to display for his side, leading the Real Madrid youth product to be linked with a summer move to Barcelona and Premier League rivals Arsenal. All rumors were quickly dispelled by the club soon after contract negotiations began between the two sides, who are reportedly closing in on a new deal for Mata, according to ESPN.co.uk.