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Mata deal settled

Sunday, January 26, 2014

LONDON - Manchester United yesterday confirmed they have agreed a club record deal to sign Spanish midfielder Juan Mata from Chelsea.

United's reported STG37 million ($F116m) move for Mata will be completed subject to the 25-year-old passing a medical and negotiating personal terms with the Premier League champions.

The transfer would shatter United's previous record fee of STG30.75 million ($F96m) paid to sign Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham in 2008.

"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," United said 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."

Mata is expected to have his medical on Saturday and, unless there are any hitches, he should make his United debut in Tuesday's Premier League clash against Cardiff at Old Trafford.

United manager David Moyes desperately needed a high-profile signing to lift the gloom after a miserable start to his reign as Alex Ferguson's successor.

Since replacing Ferguson in July, Moyes has seen United fall 14 points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, while they also crashed out of the FA Cup in the third round against Swansea and suffered an embarrassing League Cup semi-final loss to Sunderland in midweek.

Moyes had been keen to land a quality midfielder since arriving from Everton and he made failed bids for several top stars, including Barcelona's Cesc Fabregas, before the last transfer window shut in September.

His swoop for Mata should add much-needed creativity and intelligence to United's midfield, although the champions also need a more aggressive ball-winner in the mold of former Old Trafford great Roy Keane.

Mata won Chelsea's player of the year award for the last two season and has 32 caps for Spain, but failed to impress Mourinho.

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