United agrees deal with Chelsea to sign Mata

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2014 at 4:44 pm •  Published: January 24, 2014
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Juan Mata is on the brink of becoming the most expensive player in Manchester United's history after the Premier League champions announced Friday they have reached an agreement with Chelsea over the transfer of the Spain midfielder.

United released a statement saying Mata will move for a club-record fee "subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms."

Although United didn't give any further details, the club this week made a bid of 37 million pounds ($61 million) for Mata, which would eclipse the 30.7 million pounds that United paid to sign striker Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham in 2008.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said Mata had requested to leave Stamford Bridge after losing his place in the London club's starting lineup.

"I asked him (Mata), 'Are you really happy to go?'" Mourinho said. "He said, 'Yes, I'm really happy to go.'

"We hope he does well," Mourinho added in a news conference. "We are convinced he is going to do well. If Man United pays their record for a player, it's because they know exactly what they want from him. And they know exactly what he can give them."

The 25-year-old Mata was Chelsea's player of the year for the last two seasons but has been marginalized at the London club this campaign following the return of Mourinho as manager.

He has largely been on the bench, with Mourinho preferring Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar as his playmakers.

"If he cannot be fully happy here because he is not playing 100 percent like he was the last two years, if he has a big club that wants him — even if it's a rival club and in England — the club decided, and I was on the club's side for this feeling, that you cannot stop people to be happy," Mourinho said.

United refused to negotiate with Chelsea in the offseason when Mourinho lodged two bids for Wayne Rooney, who was pushing for a transfer after losing his regular place in United's team.

Mourinho said that hadn't been a factor in dealing with Mata.

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