Willian could be the ‘Juan’ that ‘Matas’ in Chelsea’s Chase for Rooney

Key to a Rooney – Mata deal?

Chelsea want to sign Wayne Rooney, but just how far are they prepared to go in order to get him? The Blues’ signing of Willian, by intent or effect, may have created an intriguing possibility that could just open the door to a deal – if Chelsea are prepared to do business. The problem is that to get the England striker, Chelsea may need to lose Juan Mata.

The little Spaniard has been a fans’ favourite since he joined the club two years ago. Last season being deployed in a trio with Eden Hazard and Oscar, Chelsea’s three ‘number tens’ were a highlight in an otherwise very drab season for the Blues. Now with Kevin de Bruyne back for loan in Germany, along with Victor Moses and now Willian, it seems that the club have six players vying for three places. When questioned about the Willian signing, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was asked whether the signing would mean someone leaving. The Portuguese replied that it could mean a player going on loan, but no sales were contemplated. It seems inevitable that if a loan was to occur, it’s highly unlikely that Mata would be the player moving out. Far more likely is that Nigerian international Victor Moses would be given a temporary leave of absence.  That of course is not going to advance the chase for Rooney however.

Over at Old Trafford, David Moyes is yet to make a substantial mark in the transfer market, and it’s no surprise that the club are very reluctant to allow the first ‘headline’ deal to be a Rooney exit.  It’s no secret however that Moyes is keen to bring in a playmaker in the Paul Scholes mould; witness the persistent pursuit of Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas, and this is where Mata may provide the solution. The little Spaniard would be the ideal ‘photofit’ for the role, and his style would very much fit in with United’s midfield. Should Chelsea be prepared to contemplate some kind of swop trade, United may well be prepared to deal. Not only would it fill a gap in their squad, it would be an equitable way of resolving the Rooney issue.  Chelsea fans however will be less than enamoured by the prospect.

Jose Mourinho is certainly no mug, and he’ll be acutely aware that if the plan was to sign Willian with the idea of then allowing the Mata – Rooney deal to be done, he’d be trading in a lot of the respect that the club’s fans have for him for the move. It will need to be something that works exquisitely well. Mata, aside from being one of the main creative elements in the squad, is a fans’ favourite, and there’ll be few of the Stamford Bridge faithful in favour of the deal. As mentioned however, Mourinho is no mug and is certainly not beyond leaking the possibility of the deal to test the water of the fans’ reaction. If that is the case, he’ll be aware that it’s not going to be overly popular.

It still remains likely that Rooney will be wearing United red when the window snaps shut in a week or so, but if there’s an inkling that both parties are interested in a swop deal, it may well be that the Willian signing is the key.


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