Transfer news: Arsene Wenger admits he 'likes' Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata - but concedes transfer to Arsenal would be tricky

Mata's father and agent was spotted at the Emirates Stadium

Arsene Wenger has admitted that he is interested in Chelsea’s Juan Mata, but conceded that a reluctance to sell between English clubs would make the transfer a long shot.

Mata’s father and agent was spotted at the Emirates Stadium watching Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Fenerbahce in the Champions League last night, and Wenger would not deny he was a guest of Arsenal’s.

“I like him,” Wenger, who was close to signing the midfielder two years ago before Chelsea beat him to the Spaniard’s signature, said. “I have heard like you, because I watched the game [on Monday against Manchester United, in which Mata did not come feature] last night, that Juan Mata could be on the market. There is anyway a reluctance in England to sell to each other.”

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has insisted that the 25-year-old is not for sale, despite the club today linked with Porto winger Christian Atsu, which will leave Mourinho with seven wingers to chose from after the signing of the Brazilian Willian.

“He [Mata] is very important for me and very important for Chelsea,” Mourinho said after Chelsea’s draw with United on Monday. “The stories that are coming out are nonsense stories. He goes nowhere.”

Wenger’s hand could be forced by the injury to Lukas Podolski, who the manager revealed will be out for at least three weeks after pulling his hamstring in the win over Fenerbahce. “We paid a heavy price on the injury front because we lost Podolski. He’s definitely out for 21 days.” Wenger confirmed that it was a pull, and not a tear, to the German's hamstring.

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