The Spanish press are it again today with claims that Florentino Perez, now safely elected, is giving up on hope of spending a fortune on Gareth Bale and instead wants Juan Mata as one of a few Spanish additions to the football club. Whilst Barcelona have made their big signing a Brazilian, Perez wants to use missing out on Neymar and being scared by Tottenham's price for Bale as a chance to bring Spanish talent in to the club.
Isco looks like the obvious choice given his ability and situation with Malaga, the club will sell players this summer and most top sides would be interested in Isco but Real Madrid would be a particularly hard club for the youngster to say no to. But he's not Perez's first choice anymore, guess who is? Yep, Juan Mata.
We hate to say we told you so but, erm, we told you so. On Wednesday, after the Marca stories that Chelsea wanted to sell Mata and Torres first emerged we said the following:
'Who would Real Madrid see as a good signing this summer, which helped them rival La Masia? Well, a certain Juan Mata was with the Spanish side for a few years from the age of 15 and they consider him a product of their quarry. He's brought up whenever Madrid backers are trying to explain that they do bring talent through.
A return of Juan Mata is something the Madrid press would love, he would help them on the pitch and, above and beyond everything else, he is Spanish and someone they can claim as a Real Madrid product.'
On Tuesday morning we also tweeted that Chelsea supporters should brace themselves for Mata to Real Madrid reports as the club looked to bring back old products of their quarry such as Carjaval. They've got a hang up about how much praise La Masia gets and bringing back old youth system graduates is one way of sorting that out.
So it started with Marca, and then yesterday Mundo Deportivo said that Jose Mourinho was prepared to risk the wrath of Chelsea fans by selling Mata and Terry! It all seemed to be laying the ground for an 'assault' on Mata, even if just to cause trouble for their foe Mourinho.
Today's it's the third of the main Spanish sport papers who get involved and Sport say that Real Madrid want to pay €25m for Juan Mata, which would surely bring chuckles around Stamford Bridge given it's less than what they paid for him. It's claimed the asking price is €35m.
Mundo say that Mata would be 'very interested' in returning to the Spanish league which seems to fly in the face of reality. Never has a footballer seemed more enchanted by London than the Spaniard and he's already stated he looks forward to working with Mourinho.
If the campaign escalates to bring Mata home to Real Madrid there is the danger it could unsettle him. Being the club's top signing this summer would elevate his status and probably, rightly or wrongly, help him secure a starting berth at next year's World Cup. The Spanish press are out to cause problems for Chelsea with Mata, and the way they are taking their turn in producing articles almost looks pre-planned.
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