Manchester United sign deal to buy Juan Mata for club record fee
Spain international due in Manchester today for medical and discuss terms
Juan Mata: Spain international on his way to Manchester United.
Manchester United have signed a transfer agreement with Chelsea to buy Juan Mata for a club record fee of around €48 million, surpassing the €37 million paid for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008. The playmaker’s impending arrival hands a massive boost to David Moyes in what is proving a difficult first season in charge of United.
Mata will have a medical in Manchester today and then discuss personal terms. Both are expected to be a formality and the 25-year-old could be unveiled as a United player as early as this evening and be available to make his debut against Cardiff City at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Any new addition has to be registered by noon on Monday.
A statement from the champions said: “Manchester United is pleased to announce it has reached an agreement with Chelsea for the transfer of Juan Mata for a club record fee. The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms. A further announcement will be made in due course.”
The purchase of Mata represents something of a coup for United given that he is Chelsea’s player of the year for the past two seasons and acquiring top class players in the January window is particularly difficult.
Key piece of paperwork
The signing of the transfer agreement – the key piece of paperwork in terms of Mata’s destiny – had been delayed as Chelsea wanted to secure the signing of Mohamed Salah from Basel for an initial fee of €14.5 million.
Jose Mourinho said: “He’s a non-EC player so he cannot come to England for his medical, so we have to meet him for the medical, probably in Switzerland. After that we can meet the paperwork for him to come.
The Chelsea manager did indicate that Mata would soon become a United player. “Things are going in a good direction. We have allowed Juan to travel and have the medical. The player deserves respect and to play and because the offer is right, we allowed him to negotiate. It’s what he wants. It’s what he asked us to accept.”
He added: “Chelsea 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 at United.”
Moyes will now hope to field Mata in a front four for United alongside Adnan Januzaj, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, once the latter two return from fitness.
Earlier yesterday Mourinho dismissed suggestion from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that Chelsea are manipulating the transfer market and title race by selling Mata to United.
The Portuguese even claimed he would have permitted the Spain international to join Arsenal had they lodged their own €48 million offer for the player.
Mourinho claimed Wenger’s complaint was “normal”. “This is the market,” he said. “We don’t make the market, we don’t make the rules. We just act according to the rules. If Wenger sells [Mesut] Ozil to Man United in this moment, I would be very happy because he’s selling a very important player.”