Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata is a transfer target for the Blues' London rivals Arsenal. The news was confirmed by Arsene Wenger and speculation has heightened since it was revealed that the Spain international's father was at the Emirates on Tuesday.
The Gunners have secured qualification to the group stages of the Champions League this season, following a 5-0 aggregate win over Turkish club Fenerbahce. A brace from Aaron Ramsey ensured a comfortable passage after a commanding 3-0 win in Turkey, in the first leg, last week.
"Well, yes. I like him. I have heard like you, because I watched the game last night, that Juan Mata could be on the market. I don't know... there is anyway reluctance in England to sell to each other," the Arsenal boss said after the game.
Wenger's summer of transfer rumours is now likely to morph into a mad rush for deadline day signings similar to 2011, following months of fruitless speculation while the injury list mounts in north London.
German international Lukas Podolski, who scored twice in the club's 3-1 win over Fulham, in a Premier League match over the weekend, limped off with a possible hamstring injury. And England midfielder Jack Wilshere continues to suffer from injury woes; the youngster appeared to strain his ankle but managed to finish the game.
Club captain and Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen is still injured and so is Spain's Mikel Arteta, a key figure in the centre of the park. Also on the long-term injury list is French midfielder Abou Diaby and the transfers of Gervinho and Andrei Arshavin means Wenger is light on numbers in critical areas of the pitch.
The signing of Mata, who joined Stamford Bridge in 2011, will come as a massive boost to the club, should it be completed. The Real Madrid youth product has had a stunning two seasons in west London, scoring 18 goals and creating 25 more, all from 69 Premier League games.
However, Jose Mourinho has played down speculation the 25-year-old could leave this summer. The Spaniard has had a difficult start to life under the Special One, playing in only one of three Premier League games so far this season but the former Madrid boss is keen to emphasise his playmaker's importance to the team.
"He is very important for me and very important for Chelsea. The stories that are coming out are nonsense stories. He goes nowhere," Mourinho said.
It is believed Tottenham and Spanish club Atletico Madrid are also monitoring Mata's situation in west London, according to Sky Sports.
Meanwhile, speculation continues to link Wenger with an audacious raid of the Santiago Bernabeu. The Express believes the Gunners are lining up moves for Mesut Ozil, Angel di Maria and Karim Benzema.