Usually there is logic behind transfers in football. But not always. Sometimes someone decides to sign Paul Konchesky, but usually common sense prevails.
Either a move makes sense for both sides, one side has all the power and it makes sense for them, or the behaviour of the player in question causes it to be necessary for the club.
But occasionally transfer rumours pop up that whip fans and journalists into a frenzy, then gather pace and go through before anyone stops to ask why.
This is the situation that we currently have with the proposed, and apparently increasingly likely, transfer of Juan Mata, Chelsea’s player of the season in both of his years at the club, to long time rival Manchester United.
Of course there is plenty of logic on the part of United. Very few would dispute the quality of Mata, and he has proven that quality in the Premier League already. However, he is not playing.
After being the star of the Chelsea team for two years he has been relegated to an option from the bench since the return of Jose Mourinho, and while he has taken this with characteristic good grace there is only so long a player that good can take not playing. The fact that the World Cup follows this season only adds to this.
David Moyes’ transfer policy in the summer may have resembled someone clutching at straws that were placed some way out of reach for the most part, but he appears to have finally found a high quality viable option.
After losing 3-1 to Chelsea last week, in a game where Mata once again was unused, and dropping 14 points off the top, Moyes is in desperate need of something he can point to that shows some direction for the club. Fans that are not used to feeling pessimistic about the club need something to feel excited about other than the development of Adnan Januzaj.
On the other hand, Mata likely has developed some attachment to Chelsea and London since he arrived from Valencia. He is also not actually the Roy Keane or Paul Scholes replacement that United have long been lacking, and could find himself in a similarly crowded position in Manchester with Wayne Rooney, Januzaj and Shinji Kagawa. However it makes enough sense for Moyes, United and Mata to happen.
For Chelsea however, it makes very little sense. True, he has been deemed not to fit Mourinho’s system and as such is currently contributing little to the team, but that does not mean that he would not be vital later in the season or next year if someone goes down with an injury, or if the system needed changing.
He may well command around £37 million but Chelsea are not exactly short of money, unless their Financial Fair Play outlook is worse than they are letting on and they need to sell in order to bring in the world class striker that Mourinho wants.
If that striker is still Rooney then letting Mata leave could actually be detrimental to that plan. Not only have United already stated that Rooney will not be moving in the opposite direction as part of any January transfer, but if Mata provides the impetus that United need then it could give Rooney a reason to stay and benefit from it. It would not be the first time he has changed his mind about having had enough of life at Old Trafford.
The idea that selling to a rival Premier League club is not an issue here because United are so far off the pace, and could even help Chelsea’s cause by taking points off Arsenal or Manchester City with Mata in the side is ridiculous. If Manchester United are no longer the Ferguson-led powerhouse they have so long been then all other sides would do well to leave them to their troubles.
When David Moyes claimed last weekend that he could sign the best players in the world it came across as slightly desperate considering his predicament, but if in a matter of days Mata turns up he suddenly has a very different air as manager.
For a team like Chelsea to decide that selling their best player for the past two seasons, and potentially providing one of the foundations to a rebuilding operation that comes back to bite them in a couple of seasons would be downright careless.
Another point is that in comparison with other significant transfers between big Premier League teams in recent years, such as Fernando Torres leaving Liverpool for Chelsea in 2011, and Robin van Persie moving to Manchester United from Arsenal in 2012, the element of agitation from the player himself is lacking.
Mata may well be open to the idea because of what it would do for his prospects of going to Brazil in the summer but he has not handed in a late transfer request like Torres did, or declared he would not sign a new contract like Van Persie.
Chelsea seem to hold all the cards here, having little obligation to give a rival what they want but are seemingly willing to do it anyway, despite the case being the exact opposite last summer when the Blues were pursuing Rooney.
It may still not happen, but Mourinho has been talking all season about developing a team for the long term and letting Mata move to Manchester United could be disastrous in the long term.
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