It’s been rough for some players at Chelsea this season, probably more than anyone for Juan Mata and Kevin de Bruyne, who pretty much occupy the same position at the team, but aren’t favorites for their manager. At least one of them might be sold in the January transfer window, with Atletico Madrid showing a great interest in both of them, hoping that sort of arrival will help boost their chances to win the La Liga title.
Juan Mata has been in and out of the lineup this season for Mourinho after starring and leading Chelsea for the last couple of seasons, being their best player. He has played in 8 Premier League matches so far, coming off the bench in two of them and being substituted five times, completing the full 90 minutes only once, and other times simply being left unused on the bench. Mourinho has something of a guaranteed spot for Eden Hazard and Oscar in the trio behind the striker, with Frank Lampard suddenly getting more minutes in that slot recently.
Kevin de Bruyne was actually a surprising starter in the very first league match of the season, but he has become something of a forgotten man recently, with Mourinho calling him out for his ability on the pitch and in training. He hasn’t played in a league match since September, while making two short cameos in the most recent Champions League matches against Schalke and Basel.
Atletico Madrid, tied with Barcelona at first place in the Spanish La Liga, have so far been fortunate to avoid any serious injuries. Diego Simeone, recently picking up the manager of the year award in Spain, knows that without a deeper squad, their title bid and chances to go far in the Champions League might fall short of their own expectations, so is looking to add quality players in January, although both of them won’t be able to help him in Europe.
According to Marca, Atletico will try to bring both players during the January transfer window, whether it being on loan or on a permanent deal. Mata and De Bruyne will be pushing for an exit, knowing that their place on the Spanish and Belgian national teams heading into the World Cup depend on them getting more minutes.