Sunday 17 December 2017

Chelsea make £27m move for Mata

Jason Burt and Jeremy Wilson

Chelsea last night bid £27m for the Spanish international Juan Mata as manager Andre Villas-Boas made a decisive move to improve his squad before the transfer window closes.

The offer from Chelsea is expected to be a decisive move in the attempts to sign the 23-year-old from Valencia, who are likely to accept the bid ahead of interest from Tottenham.

Arsenal dropped their interest in Mata last week, having allowed a £22m buy-out clause in his contract to expire, and it now appears that was probably in response to Chelsea's intervention and the knowledge they would trump any offer.

Villas-Boas is keen to add pace, creativity and width to the Chelsea team and has agreed that Mata would be an important addition to his squad.

His arrival would leave a huge question mark over the future of Florent Malouda and Yossi Benayoun especially as Chelsea also have to create some room in their 25-man squad for new signings who are experienced foreign players such as Mata.

Chelsea held talks with Porto on Wednesday to discuss the availability of Alvaro Pereira and also Joao Moutinho, who has been identified as an addition to the centre of midfield should their efforts to sign Luka Modric from Spurs continue to falter.

The Blues have discussed the prospect of offering £17.4m for Pereira and £21.7-£26m for Moutinho and have received encouragement.

Chelsea have been weighing up for the past two weeks when they should submit a revised third bid for Modric -- having had offers of £22m and £27m rejected -- and are likely to submit a £30m offer.

Villas-Boas stressed yesterday that he made the technical decisions at Chelsea but, when it was put to him that he wanted the player, he replied: "It doesn't depend on me. It's not my money."

Chelsea have moved for three of the world's most promising teenagers of late and it was suggested to Villas-Boas that an established superstar would offer something different. "Hopefully," he said. "I think the ones we have are superstars."

Chelsea yesterday formally confirmed the signing of Belgian striker Romelu Lukuka, while goalkeeper Thibault Courtois and midfielder Oriol Romeu have also arrived.

Courtois has already been loaned out to Atletico Madrid and, despite news that Petr Cech has suffered a medial ligament injury to his right knee, cannot be recalled. Cech will be out for up to four weeks, leaving Ross Turnbull and Henrique Hilario to play in his absence. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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