Arsenal are planning a £30m swoop for Chelsea's Juan Mata, according to the Sunday People. The report states the player has to put in a transfer request to expedite the move.
Mata has failed to feature regularly in Chelsea's starting line-up since the return of Jose Mourinho, and was left on the bench for Chelsea's Super Cup tie against Bayern Munich. He is likely to be further alienated by the recent arrival of Willian.
Arsene Wenger has publicly revealed his admiration for the player but insisted that it will be hard for Arsenal, since Premier League clubs are reluctant to sell to one another. The 25-year-old was the standout player for Chelsea last season, scoring 12 goals and assisting 12 in the league. Mata has also been left out of the Spain squad for the World Cup qualifiers and with the World Cup looming, may look for a move elsewhere to ensure first team football.
The Gunners have made an enquiry with Mata's representatives about his availability and are hopeful that the pressure on Chelsea to reduce their wage bill will act in their favour. However, Wenger does have a contingency plan, with Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler also on the radar. Arsenal are reportedly planning a £40m bid for the German but the Bundesliga club are expected to hold out for a fee in the range of £60m.
The north London club will host arch-rivals Tottenham at the Emirates on Sunday in what will be a battle between two sides with contrasting approaches to the transfer window. While Tottenham have spent close to £100m this summer on new recruits, the Gunners have signed two players on a free transfer, much to the irritation of fans. A win here for Spurs is likely to initiate a meltdown at the Emirates, which can negatively affect the players and cast an early pall over Arsenal's season. The Gunners managed to edge Tottenham for a Champions League spot in the last couple of seasons, beating them by one point.