Valencia could make a shock January bid for Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata, just two-and-a-half years after letting him leave in a £23.5m transfer.
Mata has found himself on the fringes at Stamford Bridge since Jose Mourinho returned to the helm, with the Portuguese choosing to start Oscar and Eden Hazard alongside Andre Schurrle in the bulk of their Premier League matches so far.
The Spaniard played the full 90 minutes in the Capital One Cup clash with Swindon on Tuesday, although this came after he was left out of the match-day squad against Fulham on the weekend, and Mourinho has made no secret that Mata’s current style of play doesn’t see him featuring in his Chelsea future.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas admitted that he had made an enquiry over Mata’s availability during the transfer window, although his former club’s reluctance to sell showed that Spurs were a genuine rival in the Premier League title race.
Both Arsenal and Manchester United are also said to be monitoring the situation, but the Blues do not want to sell to a domestic rival in a move that could come back to haunt them.
That appears to have alerted Los Che, who are believed to have already started the process of raising the £25m they feel will be enough to see Mata return to the Mestalla, with sponsors and local businesses set to fund the bid.
The La Liga club, who suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Swansea in the Europa League last week that saw home fans protest by leaving the stands for 15 minutes, have been crippled by financial instability in recent years, but they are hopeful that their former star-midfielder could force through a move and take a wage cut in order to return Valencia.
Mata made 174 appearances for the side, scoring 46 goals in his four seasons with the former European Cup champions, and he has twice been voted Chelsea’s player of the year since his move to London.
Fans at Stamford Bridge have made their opinion clear over Mata’s dropping from the first-team, with some supporters displaying signs during home matches calling for his reinstatement to the side.
In a World Cup year, Mata is seeing his chances of being included in Vicente Del Bosque’s Spain squad diminish with each league game he misses, and should Chelsea be reluctant to sell, Valencia could look to a loan move in January, with the 25-year-old guaranteed first-team football under Miroslav Dukic.