As far as Juan Mata departing Chelsea to join David Moyes at Old Trafford, it's beginning to look like more a matter of when it happens as opposed to whether or not it does. Manchester United have now reportedly made a bid of somewhere between £35-40 million, and all sorts of other nonsense has supposedly been happening today.
With that in mind, a few of us decided to share our thoughts on what we'd do with the profits of a £40 million move, as squad reinforcement would most certainly be in order. Here are some brief thoughts from several of our writers:
If we're getting £40 million for Juan Mata, we should try to spend it before the January window closes. It's an unexpected windfall for a player who hasn't made much of an impact so far this season, and it gives us the opportunity to swing the current title race decisively in our favour.
Although the sexiest spot for an upgrade would be at centre forward, I have a feeling that we might be better off in midfield. With Juventus out of the Champions League and capable of sleep-walking their way to the scudetto, it might be time to go after the likes of Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal. Of the two, Pogba would be the superior signing, but £40 million might not get it done. Vidal is 26 and on fairly high wages, but signing him would allow Chelsea to play a 4-3-3 with an elite central midfield, the area in which we've been most lacking since the last time we won the league.
Since Manchester United were also pursuing that duo, we'd also be able to amuse ourselves by using their own money to sabotage their attempts to upgrade their own midfield. And I think that would be funny.
I'm going to agree with Graham here, in that if we're looking at £40 million for Mata, we should be trying to spend it during the January window if possible. After all, there is little sense in pushing the Mata deal through this early if we're not going to reinforce until June.
I love Graham's idea of Paul Pogba, but frankly, I can't imagine he'll be available at all during the January window. After I made a call to Juventus only to have them confirm my suspicions, I'd probably turn my attention to Spain, letting Atletico Madrid know that Chelsea would be activating the buyout of Diego Costa. Adding a striker of his quality would change this squad from a very good one to one of Europe's elite, and while that would leave us with a pair of cup-tied players in this season's Champions League, we'd probably go from title hopefuls to title favorites overnight.
Costa carries some risk, as this is the first season in which he's really performed at a world class level. He's been very good for the better part of the last three years though, and having just turned 25, his best years should all still be ahead of him. The Brazilian trying to turn Spaniard also isn't the most likable character ever, but his skillset and physical tools are the sort that suggest that the best is yet to come from him. I can't help but feel that he'd be worth the risk of signing, much like Radamel Falcao would have ultimately been had we simply activated his release clause while at Porto.
We'd still most certainly have some money remaining, and I'd be making sure we wrapped up a deal for St. Etienne's Kurt Zouma as well. Let him stay in France until the end of the season on loan, but let's just make sure that it gets done.
When faced with something that makes little sense, like Juan Mata potentially being sold to Manchester United, it might be worth looking at the numbers to see what, if any, benefit there is to a Mata sale.
Working under the assumption that the Mata transfer will bring in £40m, that represents a one-time profit of just over £28m on the 2013-14 books.
We know that the profit will be around £28m because the original £23.5m fee Chelsea paid to Valencia was amortised over the life of Mata's five-year contract. With two and a half years remaining on the deal, there still remains £11.75m worth of Mata's transfer fee on the books. That £11.75m immediately becomes due if and when Mata is sold. Once we reduce the £40m fee by the remaining book value, we're left with £28.25m
As mentioned, the entire profit will go on the 2013-14 books, but the 2013-14 books will be included in the 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 UEFA financial fair play monitoring periods.
This is to say that while the entire profit will be recorded on the 2013-14 books, said books will be included in the overall financial fair play monitoring for the next few years.
With both the new Premier League broadcasting deal and the new adidas deal kicking in this year, there was no need to sell Mata in order to buy one of the Juventus midfielders or young strikers. If Chelsea wants a Pogba or a Vidal or a Costa, all it needs to do is write a big enough cheque. While the profit from a Mata sale will provide a modicum of monetary breathing room, it's not as if Chelsea was suffocating under the weight of financial fair play in the first place.
I wouldn't mind contract extensions for our Belgian loanees and if we just so happen to take Vidal or Pogba off Antonio Conte's hands as a consolation prize, I'd be fine with that. However, I think all of these things could have been accomplished without selling Juan Mata.
I'd buy a big house where we both could live. And we could tell everybody this is our song.
P.S.: oh look, suddenly we might just have a spot for Lucas Piazon and/or Thorgan Hazard in next year's squad!
I'd blow the cash by hiring Van Halen to play my birthday party. But Mou's not Spicoli and this ain't the 80s.
So, I'd buy Zlatan. Obviously.
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