Tottenham Hotspur will make a move for Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata in January, according to reports in Portugal.
Mata appeared as a 67th-minute substitute for the Blues in their 2-1 defeat against Basle in the Champions League on Wednesday and has been hardly used by Jose Mourinho this season, playing in only three of the club’s matches.
In a World Cup season, the 25-year-old may be forced to consider his options in the next transfer window to bolster his chances of making the Spain squad for the finals in Brazil over the summer.
Portuguese sports newspaper Record suggest that Spurs’ manager Andre Villas-Boas will try again for Mata in January. When he was Chelsea manager, Villas-Boas brought the midfielder over to England in August 2011 for £23.5m from Valencia, and spoke of his desire to re-sign the Spaniard last month, but conceded at the time it would be doubtful Chelsea would sell to a domestic rival.
The out-of-favour Mata has also been linked with reuniting with Rafa Benitez at Napoli. The midfielder flourished last season during Benitez’s interim reign at Stamford Bridge. Blues’ supporters have become increasingly frustrated with Mata’s lack of playing time this season, and one held a banner during the Basle defeat saying: “Juan Mata belongs on the field, not the bench.”