Manchester United confirm Juan Mata deal agreed
Spaniard’s transfer expected to be completed in time for him to debut against Cardiff on Tuesday
Juan Mata (left) is close to a club record transfer to Manchester United from Chelsea. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho during a press conference at Cobham training ground today. Photograph: John Walton/PA Wire.
Manchester United have announced they have reached an agreement with Chelsea to sign Juan Mata.
The midfielder will have a medical, almost certainly on Saturday, and personal terms are also still to be agreed. However, unless there are any hitches, Mata will make his debut in Tuesday’s Barclays Premier League encounter with Cardiff at Old Trafford.
“Manchester United is pleased to announce it has reached agreement with Chelsea Football Club for the transfer of Juan Mata for a club-record fee,” said United in a statement. “The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms. “A further announcement will be made in due course.”
It has seemed just a matter of time before Friday night’s announcement was made, with it becoming obvious Mata would be joining United as early as Tuesday. Although manager David Moyes refused to discuss the 25-year-old following Wednesday’s Capital One Cup semi-final loss to Sunderland, sources involved in the deal had confirmed it was close to being agreed.
And the seal was put on the switch by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho when he spoke to the media on Friday lunchtime.
“It’s what he wants,” said Mourinho. “It’s what he asked us to accept. Chelsea Football Club is proud to act this way, in an open way, in a human way. “The offer, compared with what the club paid two years ago (when Mata signed from Valencia), was fantastic.”
Mata, he said, leaves Chelsea with the club’s blessing.
“He’s a fantastic player and despite not playing a lot for us in the last period could be a very important player for us. But Juan had this fantastic opportunity for him.
“It’s what he wants. It’s what he asked us to accept. Chelsea Football Club is proud to act this way, in an open way, in a human way. It’s good for Juan, it’s good for the Premier League and the offer in financial terms, is the right offer.
“The offer, compared with what the club paid two years ago (when Mata signed from Valencia), was fantastic. If Man United pays their record for a player it’s because they know exactly what they want.
“They are convinced he’s going to be important for them and we hope that he does very well for them. No fears at all. We are convinced he’s going to do well.
“When we play him we are going to try to win and he does the same.”
Some commentators have suggested Mourinho is no longer concerned by Manchester United after selling to a long-standing direct rival, who are 14 points adrift in the title race.
Mourinho added: “We are not afraid of him going there to do very well for Man United. We want him to go there, to do well for Man United.”
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger suggested the transfer was unfair, as Chelsea have already played United twice this season and will not have to face Mata this term, where other title contenders will.
Mourinho added: “Wenger complaining is normal, because he always does. It’s something that we know. When a player plays for a club on August 20th and two weeks later on September 5th plays against the same club with a different shirt, this is normal, because this is the market.
“We don’t do the market, we don’t do the rules, we have just to do according to the rules.
“If Wenger sells (Mesut) Özil to Man United in this moment I would be very happy because he sells a very important player. Normally he should be happy that Chelsea sold a player like Juan Mata, but this is a little bit his nature.
“When he says this is not fair, I think what is not fair is that his team always has the best days to play.”
Mohamed Salah is set to become Chelsea’s third signing of the winter transfer window, following the captures of Bertrand Traore and Nemanja Matic. Kevin De Bruyne has already left for Wolfsburg, Mata is en route to Manchester and Michael Essien has permission to leave, too.
Chelsea play Stoke on Sunday in the FA Cup fourth round, with striker Fernando Torres (knee) missing for three weeks.