Chelsea's Juan Mata thanks Yossi Benayoun for giving up No.10 shirt

Spanish playmaker praises team-mate after taking celebrated number, raising prospect that Israeli who has been linked with Tottenham could be heading for the exit
Chelsea's new signing Juan Mata has been handed Yossi Benayoun's No.10 jersey by manager Andre Villas-Boas, he confirmed on Friday.

The 23-year-old, who joined the west London club from Valencia in a five-year deal on Wednesday, used his twitter account to thank and praise Benayoun for consenting to the move.

Mata tweeted: "Very grateful for having been given the number 10..a pleasure and an honour for me, great player and better person, thanks Yossi!"

The development will increase speculation that Benayoun, who has made just seven appearances for Chelsea in an injury-hit spell since joining in July 2010, could be set to depart the club.

Earlier this month the 31-year-old former Liverpool player's name was linked with a player-plus-cash bid for Tottenham's Luka Modric.

Mata, who has 11 senior caps for Spain, is set to make his debut for Chelsea against Norwich City.

The No.10 shirt is often worn by the foremost 'creative' star of a team including Lionel Messi at Barcelona, Wesley Sneijder at Inter and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.