Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has again reaffirmed the club's desire to keep playmaker Juan Mata despite Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger confirming his admiration in the Spanish international.
Mata's father was spotted in the Arsenal director's box during the 2-0 win over Fenerbahce in the Champions League play-off second leg, swelling suggestions the 25 year old could be looking for a move away from Stamford Bridge after being on the peripheral of the first-team so far this season.
The ex-Valencia man was an unused substitute in the opening weekend win over Hull City and the trip to Manchester United on Monday but did start the mid-week victory over Aston Villa.
The infrequency of Mata's appearances comes after a summer where his future at Chelsea, following the re-appointment of Mourinho, was called into question after United briefed press during pre-season claiming the Blues had offered the midfielder as part of a deal to sign Wayne Rooney.
Chelsea rejected the suggestion but Mata's lack of first-team activity this season works to question his long-term future in west London.
And Mourinho, who quashed suggestions Mata would be available in the final week of the transfer market, says his lack of involvement so far this season is linked with his participation in the summer's Confederations Cup.
"There is no chance Juan goes," the Portuguese boss said. "He had a very small pre-season after the Confederations Cup. And during that pre-season he was injured.
"He started training two days before we played the first league match. He played against Aston Villa and I decided to put him on the bench against United."
"He is very important for me and very important for Chelsea," said Mourinho during his post-match press conference on Monday.
"The stories that are coming out are nonsense stories. He goes nowhere."
Mata's future has been thrown into further doubt by the signing of Wilian from Anzhi Makhachkala and the proposed addition of Porto winger Christian Atsu. Mourinho remains in the hunt for an additional striker as well with Rooney and Samuel Eto'o his primary targets.
Following his side's progression in the Champions League group stage for a 16th consecutive season, Wenger was questioned regarding the presence of Mata's father at the Emirates Stadium and while the Arsenal boss appeared unaware of his attendance he reiterated his fondness of the Chelsea man.
"I watched the [Chelsea] game last night that Juan Mata could be on the market. I don't know, there is a reluctance in England to sell to each other," said Wenger. "Does that frustrate me? Yes, I like him.
"Everybody knows we are in the market. The whole world knows that now. I cannot be more creative than that, because all has been said and nothing has been concluded."
Wenger lost out on signing Mata from Valencia in the summer of 2011 when Chelsea hijacked the deal late on in the transfer window.
And the Frenchman has suffered the ignominy of missing out on a host of high-profile targets this summer also including Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain, who joined Napoli, and Liverpool forward Luis Suarez. Arsenal have made one sole addition in the form of Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer from Auxerre.