Jose Mourinho has insisted he has no problems in selling Chelsea players to Manchester United, like the Juan Mata deal last January, and things an era is coming where the Premier League’s biggest clubs will start to sell to one another.
Mata struggled to impress the Portuguese coach ever since he arrived from Real Madrid in the summer of 2012. He was eventually sold to the Old Trafford club in the last January transfer window for a club record fee of £37.1million.
At the time people question the wisdom of the Stamford Bridge boss for strengthening a rival, but he was, once again, proved right in the transfer market, as Mata could not relieve Manchester United’s misery under David Moyes.
Mourinho insisted that the tradition of previous years for refusing to sell any player to a direct rival will come to an end soon, mostly because of the changing financial landscape in European football.
"With these assets or players that are not fundamental to me it's where you - meaning, my club - have to do the best possible job for me," he told reporters.
"Is this easy to say when you are talking about good players? It's not easy. For example, [Juan] Mata to Man Utd. We are losing a very good player to a direct opponent.
Big-money arrivals of Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao this summer have meant his playing opportunities have been limited
"Would this have happened ten years ago? Maybe not. But in modern football and the new economic reality [for Chelsea], if Man Utd pays you an important amount of money he has to go.
"I'm not the sort of manager that says no - not to Man Utd. Sell Mata to Juventus or Barcelona but not Man Utd. Chelsea cannot have 20 replicas."
Mata’s frustrating time at Chelsea now looks as though it could be repeated at Manchester United following the appointment of Louis van Gaal as successor to the sacked Moyes.
Big-money arrivals of Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao this summer have meant his playing opportunities have been limited and he may be forced to seek another move.