Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas is an admirer of Juan Mata, but says Chelsea would never sell the Spaniard to 'rivals for the title'.
Speculation regarding Mata's future at Stamford Bridge has intensified after he was benched for Monday's trip to Manchester United and Jose Mourinho moved for Brazilian playmaker Willian.
It has been suggested that a man who starred for the Blues in 2012/13, and throughout his time in England, could be allowed to move on if the right offer is made.
Tottenham are in the market for creativity, as Gareth Bale edges ever closer to a record-breaking move to Real Madrid, but Villas-Boas feels a deal for Mata would be virtually impossible.
The Portuguese coach believes Chelsea would be unwilling to strengthen the squad of a fellow top-four contender - meaning Spurs have turned their attention to Roma's Erik Lamela and Ajax's Christian Eriksen.
On Mata, Villas-Boas said: "Mata is a great player - player of the season last season, a very important player for Chelsea.
"But Chelsea wouldn't sell to Tottenham in any way, as they think we are title contenders.
"They're just not going to strengthen another team that, in their opinion, are rivals for the title."