Valencia set to rescue Mata

Posted by ESPN staff

Juan Mata, Jose Mourinho GettyImagesJuan Mata has work to do if he is to break into Jose Mourinho's first-team plans.

Could Chelsea outcast Juan Mata be sent a lifeline from his homeland? It seems Valencia are prepared to offer the playmaker a way out of his Stamford Bridge predicament in January.

The Daily Mail reports Mata -- who moved to Chelsea from Valencia in 2011 -- could be lured back to his former club after being frozen out by returning Blues boss Jose Mourinho this season. The lack of starts Mata has received this term has garnered great attention in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe, with speculation mounting the Spain international is bound to return home.

It is said Valencia will approach Chelsea to negotiate the potential sale of the player, but are also open to a loan deal for the remainder of the current campaign if Mourinho is unwilling to sell Mata. Valencia have already been in talks with a number of local sponsors and businesses in order to raise the finances necessary to secure the mid-season signing.

Also wanted in Europe is Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. The Sun states Napoli manager Rafa Benitez has his sights set on the 26-year-old, but may face a fight from Atletico Madrid come the January transfer window.

Benitez is eager to sign a top-quality goalkeeper this season, while Atletico are preparing for loanee Thibaut Courtois to return to Chelsea. A £14 million price tag on the Bosnian could be the only stumbling block to a transfer being completed, but a bidding war should ensure a sale is finalised in the coming months.

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