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Mata: Chelsea made only genuine offer

The 23-year-old, who made more than 100 league appearances for the Mestalla outfit after joining from Real Madrid in 2007, was a man in much demand when he signed for the Blues for £23.5 million at the end of August.

But although big-spending Liverpool, Harry Redknapp's Spurs and the Gunners were believed to have made approaches for the playmaker's services, evidently only Chelsea's bid proved up to scratch.

“The only offer that truly interested Valencia was Chelsea’s," he says in the December 2011 issue of FourFourTwo, out now.

"You try to isolate yourself from the talk and it wasn’t a problem for me. If you let yourself get affected by everything that is said about you – not just in transfer, but everything – then you’re in trouble."

The Spain international has made an impressive start to his time at Stamford Bridge, notching three goals in 11 appearances, including one on his Premier League debut against Norwich as well as one on his Champions League bow for the club against Bayer Leverkusen and a stunning effort in the defeat to Arsenal.

Mata points to the influence of coach Andre Villas-Boas in his decision to move to the London side.

“He’s brilliant. He’s clever, tactically aware and a good motivator," he says.

“When I spoke to him I was impressed; it’s important to go somewhere where the coach really wants you.

“He told me he wanted to play attacking football like at Porto and that he wanted players with my characteristics.”

Read the full in-depth interview with Juan Mata in the December 2011 issue of FourFourTwo – out now, in which he talks about his time with Real Madrid, his dad's involvement in a bank robbery, winning a quiz when he was 13 and featuring in an advert aged seven.

The magazine also features exclusive interviews with Aaron Ramsey, Paul Scholes and David Silva, looks at football clubs' unlikeliest owners and maddest protests and recalls the history of Team GB at past Olympic Games.Subscribe now!

By Ian Woodcock