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Times: Mata asked to leave Chelsea

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Mike Hewitt

We've seen stories that Juan Mata wasn't training with the first team at Cobham today; we've seen reports than Manchester United have now filed a bid for somewhere in the region of 35 million for the 25-year-old. And as it turns out, there's a report -- from the Times, no less -- that Mata actually asked to leave the club today:

The Spaniard told José Mourinho this morning that he wanted to leave Chelsea and was therefore excused training at the London club’s base in Cobham, Surrey, as United’s attempts to bring him to Old Trafford gathered pace.

If Mata has really asked to leave over the lack of playing time, the club should honour that. He's been a good servant to Chelsea over the last two and a half seasons, and with Willian rising above him in the Stamford Bridge pecking order, his hopes of making the Spain World Cup squad are going up in flames. If a player desperately wants out, and we get a fair bid for him, I don't see why we should try to force him to stay.

But, as with all reporting around this story, we should take what we're reading with several grains of salt. Eventually the truth, or something close to it, will emerge; for now we have to try to wade through the confusion of rumours as best we can.