Skip to main content

Man Utd complete signing of Juan Mata from Chelsea

updated 9:34 AM EST, Sun January 26, 2014
Mata: "I have enjoyed some very happy years at Chelsea but the time has come for a new challenge."
  • Manchester United confirm signing of Juan Mata for club record £37.1 million
  • Spanish international hoping to revitalize career after falling out of favor at Mourinho's Chelsea
  • Mata: "United is the perfect place for me and I am excited at the chance."
  • Moyes: " I know our fans have admired Juan for some time now."

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- Desperate times call for desperate measures.

After a humbling League Cup defeat at the hands of lowly Sunderland, and with the reigning English champions a distant seventh in the Premier League table, Manchester United have broken the bank to bring in Juan Mata from Chelsea.

A club record fee of £37.1 million ($61 million) was confirmed by the club late Saturday after the Spaniard passed a medical and agreed personal terms.

The fee trumps £30.75 million ($51 million) that United paid Tottenham Hotspur for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.

United is the perfect place for me and I am excited at the chance I have to be part of the next phase in the club's history
Juan Mata

WorldSportBlog: How not to appoint a football manager

In a statement released on Manchester United's official website Mata said: "I am thrilled to be joining United. I have enjoyed some very happy years at Chelsea but the time has come for a new challenge.

"United is the perfect place for me and I am excited at the chance I have to be part of the next phase in the club's history.

"Chelsea is a top club and I have many friends there but you cannot turn down the chance to join Manchester United. I look forward to helping the manager and the team be successful in the coming years."

Manager David Moyes praised the 25-year-old describing him as "one of the finest playmakers in the game today" while drawing attention to his impressive haul of 32 goals and 28 assists during his previous two seasons at Stamford Bridge.

"I have been impressed with the excitement he has shown to be part of the new Manchester United. I know our fans have admired Juan for some time now -- he has always played well against us -- and I know they will be delighted to see him in the red of United, starting on Tuesday."

Mata's signing provides a much-needed fillip for a beleaguered Moyes who is enduring a nightmare start to his Old Trafford tenure.

Moyes, 50, was the man chosen by the United hierarchy to replace Alex Ferguson, the legendary Scottish manager who retired in May after 26 years trophy-laden years at the helm having ensconced the club firmly at the pinnacle of domestic and European football.

I know our fans have admired Juan for some time now -- he has always played well against us -- and I know they will be delighted to see him in the red of United
David Moyes

But elimination from both domestic cup competitions and a disastrous defence of the club's league title -- United sits 14 points behind leaders Arsenal -- have exposed the weaknesses in United's squad and led to suggestions former Everton manager Moyes can't cut it at football's top table.

Moyes will be relieved to have finally secured the signature of a high-profile transfer target, following failed pursuits of star names such as Cesc Fabregas and a reported bid for Gareth Bale during the summer window.

United's challenge has not been helped by injuries to key attackers Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, with the latter casting a shadow over the early days of Moyes' by allegedly agitating for a move away from the club.

The signing of Mata will bolster United's attack and the Spanish playmaker will be hoping he can propel his new team into the latter stages of the European Champions League and, in the process, secure his place in Spain's squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

United's participation in next season's Champions League is in doubt, with the team six points off fourth place and the final qualification spot for Europe's elite competition.

Moyes' decision to plunge into the January market is at odds with the philosophy of his illustrious predecessor.

"Buying in January has seldom been a route we have taken," Ferguson said in December 2011.

"Unless a player we have always been interested in comes along ... it is not suitable for us."

Chelsea's decision to sell Mata has also been questioned.

Mata has been voted Chelsea's Player of the Year in each of the past two seasons, but he has found himself an increasingly peripheral figure since Mourinho's second spell as manager of the Stamford Bridge club began in June.

The former Valencia player has started just 11 of Chelsea's 22 league matches, with Mourinho deeming Mata surplus to requirements in his bid to win a third Premier League title with the London club.

Read more: And the World Cup song is ...

Read more: Dial 999 for Alex Ferguson

Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.