Juan Mata has been Chelsea's best player for the last two seasons, affirmed by his claiming of the Chelsea's Player of the Year accolade.
He was one of the few positives for the Blues last season, in an otherwise forgettable season. He is without doubt, their most prized possession, and heavily wanted across Europe.
In his first two years at Stamford Bridge, the Spaniard has an impressive 32 goals to his name along with 58 assists; and has been the backbone of their front line.
However, things could be about to change under the Special One, with Jose Mourinho, reportedly not too fond of Mata's playing style.
While the Portuguese boss likes his forwards to attack directly and run at defenders, Mata is a playmaker who relies on scheming, and a slow build-up. The Spaniard's relatively poor defensive tracking in the midfield is also a major drawback in Mourinho's book.
Although Mata plays as a winger who tends to come inside and cut onto his natural foot, a technique Mourinho is said to appreciate, his lack of blistering pace as compared to Hazard and Schurrle, is a big deterrent.
Oscar has almost cemented his position as the second striker with some impressive displays in the first three matches. His fast paced runs shuffling through midfield and forward line alike, seem to be pivotal in his manager's plan for the team.
The Brazilian's amazing work rate and stamina (featuring in 67 games for Chelsea last season) and ball retention capabilities, are just what Mourinho asks of a midfielder.
Eden Hazard, who also seems lacking in the defensive aspect of midfield, seemingly gets the nod ahead of Mata as well, due to his explosive capabilities.
Mourinho has already commented regarding Chelsea's lack of well built players, and the subsequent inability to play a man-to-man game; Mata is no different.
Another interesting angle is the manager that signed Mata for Chelsea: Andre Villas Boas, Mourinhos's former deputy. The two have a volatile relationship, and this could be playing at the back of Mourinho's mind.
However, with a new pool of fast and young forwards, the Special One wants Chelsea to deliver lightning paced knock out blows to the opposition, and steady scheming would not fit into that.
With so many forwards to choose from, Mata could find himself a second choice for Chelsea now. Hazard, Schurrle and Oscar seem set as the first choices for now, with De Bruyne, Lukaku, Moses and Van Ginkel already fighting for a place; and new signing Willian set to join the squad soon.
So, will Mata be cast aside as a secondary choice, after having effectively carried Chelsea for two years?
There was already a lot of hue and cry over Mata not featuring in the clash against United, but that was explained due to Mata not being completely fit still.
The fans would be up in arms, if Mata is let go, and the manager knows this. His constant denying reports linking Mata with an away move, are testimony to that.
A player of Mata's talent could be hugely successful at another club, and that could hurt Chelsea's campaign.
So, will Mourinho push away Mata, to a faded star in Chelsea's new galaxy of forwards? Will Mata be reduced to a bench warmer, coming on in the dying moments of a game, or getting a start in the easier matches?
Or will Mata, sensing the hint, decide to leave the Blues on his own, to a club he's more wanted at?
In that case, it would be a willing transfer (most likely to another league), and Mourinho would be free of the guilt.
However, it would be an error on Mourinho's part. Mata can easily be moulded into a better tracker and all-round midfield, and his creative brilliance would only improve further. His magical displays against top teams like United, Barcelona, and Tottenham, are shades of what may come in the future, if extracted properly.
Still only 25, Mata has years of service left in him, and could in fact be a candidate for the captaincy in the future.
Not to forget, Mata's good synchronisation with Fernando Torres, who seems set to continue as Chelsea's main striker.
The ball is arguably in Mata's court now. The former Valencia man can fight for his place at the Blues, and force Mourinho to alter his plans to incorporate his services, or choose to move to another club, of which there are plenty.
Things should be clearer after Chelsea's Super Cup match against Bayern Munich.
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