Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Mata says goodbye to Valencia

Juan Mata
Juan Mata

Juan Mata was on Monday preparing to say his goodbyes to Valencia after confirming he was travelling to London to complete the formalities of his move to Chelsea.

The Spain winger was expected to undergo a medical at the Blues' Cobham training base and agree personal terms before putting the seal on a deal reportedly worth between £24million and £26million, which would make the 23-year-old Chelsea's biggest signing of the summer following the arrivals of youngsters Romelu Lukaku, Oriol Romeu and Thibault Courtois.

Mata tweeted: "Travel to London for medical examination, and come back to Valencia to say goodbye to everybody as you deserve...thanks so much!"

Sunday night saw both clubs confirm a deal had been agreed for the player, who was part of Spain's World Cup-winning squad and captained their triumphant European Under-21 Championship team.

His arrival would add much-needed creativity to a Chelsea side which struggled to break down both Stoke and West Brom in their opening two Barclays Premier League games of the season.

New manager Andre Villas-Boas has admitted he is short of numbers in midfield and although he insisted he was happy with the quality at his disposal, his pursuit of Mata and Tottenham's Luka Modric suggests otherwise.

Both are the type of player likely to help get the best out of £50million striker Fernando Torres, who played well at Stoke last weekend but has again not looked like scoring in either of his games this season.

Chelsea still retain an interest in Modric, who Spurs boss Harry Redknapp last night admitted was not mentally fit to play in their Premier League game at Manchester United. There have been reports of a £30million bid having been made for the Croatia playmaker, who Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has repeatedly insisted is not for sale at any price.

Redknapp, however, has suggested it might be in the club's interest to part with Modric and spend the money on reinforcements, one of which might have been Mata had he agreed to a move.

The Spaniard was also a target for Arsenal but appears to have more chance of domestic and European success at Stamford Bridge. His arrival could kick-start a number of departures from Chelsea, with Yossi Benayoun having tweeted at the weekend that he expected to be able to clarify his own future on Wednesday.

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