Jose Mourinho has denied that Chelsea have bid 50 million pounds for Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain, and insisted that Juan Mata is not for sale.
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A report in the Daily Telegraph on Friday had claimed that the Blues were preparing a follow-up bid for Higuain, who played under Mourinho at Real Madrid, after seeing an initial offer rejected.
However, Mourinho said the club will not sign a striker in the January window and, when specifically asked about the reported Higuain bid, insisted there is no truth to the story.
“No. No bid. No,” he told a news conference on Friday. “He’s a player that I know we cannot get. He’s a player that moved from Real to Napoli six months ago. He’s doing very well, he’s adapting very well to Italy. Napoli is a club that normally doesn’t sell.
“In the last years, they sold one player per year, when they were feeling it was not possible to keep [Ezequiel] Lavezzi and [Edison] Cavani, but they don’t sell. They want to win the Scudetto. I think now in the Europa League they want to win that, so I don’t believe they are interested in selling Higuain. So why should we be interested in buying something that is impossible to come?”
When asked whether he was telling “white lies,” as he claimed managers occasionally do regarding transfers, Mourinho -- who has repeatedly said he will keep faith with his attack -- was unequivocal.
“No. A striker: 100 percent no,” he said. “[It] is not a priority, is not an option. We have three. This squad is good enough for my first season, and for the objectives of the first season and to prepare the next season, so we are happy with the squad we have.
“If we can improve the squad to prepare the next season, we will do that, but we know what we have. We know players that are in performance stability, players that in performance development.
“We know where we are, we know what we need for the future, and we are preparing for the future but competing in the present. We are favourites for nothing -- we just want to be favourites for the next game -- and as I was saying at Southampton, the market is open, but for us, almost closed.”
The Chelsea manager also maintained that Mata is more settled after the controversy following his substitution in the 3-0 win over Southampton.
Manchester United are monitoring Mata’s situation, with Napoli also reported to be interested, after Mourinho said: “I want to keep him. I don’t want him to go. That is my opinion, my wish, but my door is open.”
Asked on Friday whether the Spain international had visited his office, Mourinho said: “No, and today he trained in a fantastic way, so I think he focused more in what I talked after the game at Southampton.
“When I told him I don’t want him to leave, he was focused on that and not focused and not when I said the door is always open. When he focused on ‘I don’t want him to leave, I don’t want the club to sell him,’ he moved on. He was happy with the victory, so today he trained in a fantastic way. I keep saying that I want him to say.”
Mourinho reiterated that he would not be willing to sell Mata to another Premier League and added: “We have no offers.”
That is not the case with Kevin De Bruyne, who has been the subject of a number of enquiries, not least from Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Malaga.
De Bruyne’s agent was quoted as saying the Belgium international wants to be playing regularly and that Wolfsburg are capable of signing him, but Mourinho has warned the former Genk and Werder Bremen midfielder will not be allowed to leave without a significant transfer fee.
“I think this is a period for agents to be famous,” the Blues boss told journalists. “It’s that period. It’s also good for you, because you have a lot to write, you have a lot of news.
“Some are true, some are not true. Some agents like to speak when things are done. Some agents like to talk when things are not even started. Some of them are addicted to Twitter and social nets and they want to share information with everybody at the same time.
“We know that Kevin didn’t adapt very well to the difficult life a Chelsea player has. People like Willian and Oscar and Mata, they have a beautiful, difficult life at Chelsea, which is to play they have to pay a big price. They have to give a lot, they have to work a lot, and they have to accept the competitiveness.
“Kevin [has a] different personality -- very important player for Genk, very important player for Werder Bremen, first time he comes to a club with big competition and fantastic players, but a bit difficult to adapt to this situation.
“So we know that he fancies a move, but he is a fantastic player, and they are very expensive, so if people think they can get our good players on sale... sales finished in London yesterday. I don’t want him to leave but we have a couple of contacts, made not by us, but made by other clubs. We have a couple of contacts.”