Winger/central attacking midfielder extraordinaire for Valencia and long the subject of Arsenal transfer rumors, Juan Mata has agreed in principle to sign for Chelsea, according to the official Valencia website. Graham over at We Ain't Got No History has written about the impending transfer, and is justifiably excited:
Beyond the business angle, Juan Mata is the sort of player everyone wants to see. Intelligent, skillful and immensely tricky, the 23-year-old has every hope of succeeding in the Premier League. He's not the biggest guy in the world, but neither is David Silva and that hasn't really stopped the City winger from thriving. Assuming he passes his physical, Mata is immediately Chelsea's top option on the flanks. Welcome to Stamford Bridge, Juan. we're looking forward to many good years in Chelsea blue.
Check out Graham's piece as well as Stephen Schmidt's analysis of Mata's play for more on the young Spaniard.
In the meantime, for Arsenal, Mata's move, valued at roughly 28 million Euros, was probably not ever on the cards, given Arsène Wenger's history with transfer fees. However, although the transfer fee is high, Mata would receive the kind of wages that would help assuage some of the hit from the initial fee. Whatever the case, supporters will always find it a little frustrating to see the opposition get stronger, even if it's not a player that Arsenal were linked with. In this case, Mata would've been an ideal replacement for Samir Nasri, should he leave, as well as being a solid replacement for Cesc Fabregas. His versatility would be incredibly helpful for an Arsenal squad who don't seem to know from week to week which of their attackers are going to be out with injury these days.
In these unsure times, Mata would have helped, but it is also incumbent upon the supporters to continue to get right behind the players we have as strongly as possible. It is frustrating as heck right now, but the more support everyone can offer to the guys that Arsenal have, the better.