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Juan Mata is not a mercenary

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Julian Finney

There's a lot of anger floating around the Chelsea universe right now. Juan Mata being sold to Manchester United is a move that's already proving deeply unpopular amongst the fans, most of whom are deeply attached to the 25-year-old, £37 million offer or no. There's a great deal of backlash towards the club from Mata's more ardent supporters. Interestingly, there's some backlash towards Mata himself as well.

Why the criticism towards our two-time player of the year? Well, it's pretty simple. He asked to leave Chelsea and wants to go to Manchester United, which is a fairly major sin. Falling out of love with him as a result is fairly understandable -- emotions are running high, after all. But some are suggesting that Mata is a mere mercenary, and I think that crosses the line.

Yes, he's going to be paid much higher wages at Old Trafford than he did at Chelsea. But getting a raise is pretty obviously not the main reason he wants out. He could easily have gotten one if he'd stayed and signed a new contract without forcing a move to Manchester United. No, Mata wants out because he wants to be playing more football than he is right now. That's not a mercenary attitude; it's just another facet of the same Juan Mata we're always known -- in love with the game and always wanting to play.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think the level of affection demonstrated by supporters for a player who's asked to go to Manchester United is entirely appropriate. But Juan Mata is no mercenary, and we shouldn't make misguided attacks on a man who's been a good and faithful servant to the club during his time here.