LONDON (AP) — Manchester United is closing in on signing Juan Mata after bidding 37 million pounds ($61 million) for the Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata, the team's first move in the January transfer window.
United is waiting for its English Premier League rival to sign off on the club-record deal for the 25-year-old Spain international, a person close to negotiations said on Thursday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been finalized.
Mata is yet to have a medical examination at United, which is in no rush to complete the deal as its next match is not until Tuesday against Cardiff.
The transfer would eclipse the 30.7 million pounds United paid to sign striker Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham in 2008, and show that the American owners are willing to spend to revitalize a struggling team.
Mata's move could speed up now Chelsea has struck a deal with Swiss club Basel to sign Mohamed Salah. The Egypt midfielder still has to agree to personal terms and pass a medical with the London club.
In a sign that Mata's departure from Chelsea is nearing after falling out of favor, the club's player of the year for the last two seasons did not train with the first team on Wednesday.
"He has great skill, great imagination, flair and goal-scoring ability," former United defender Gary Pallister said. "A lot of people can't quite understand why he has not been in Jose Mourinho's team after being player of the year for the last two seasons.
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