Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has conceded that Juan Mata could leave the club if he is fed up with a peripheral role at Stamford Bridge, but is still hopeful of keeping the Spaniard until at least the end of the season.
Mata's relationship with Mourinho has been the subject of intense debate ever since the Special One returned to West London last summer, with Oscar consistently preferred in an advanced playmaker role.
Mourinho handed Mata a rare start in yesterday's 3-0 win over Southampton but swapped him for Oscar after 53 minutes, a move which finally saw the Spanish schemer show visible frustration at being substituted for the eighth time in the Premier League already this season.
That early change was vindicated as the introduction of Oscar helped produce a crucial Chelsea victory, with Mourinho conceding for the first time that if Mata is unhappy he can request a move.
He told The Mirror: "I want to keep him. I want to keep him. I don’t want him to go.
“That’s my opinion, my wish. But my door is open and the club’s door is open too. When a player wants to speak with us we are there waiting.”
Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan have been consistently linked with a move for Mata if Chelsea make the player available, while Manchester United have been linked with adding the midfield maestro for creative spark in the past.