Manchester United has completed the biggest move of the January transfer window by signing of Spanish playmaker Juan Mata.
The defending Premier League champions paid a club-record £37.1 million (about $61.2 million) to land the 25-year-old from rivals Chelsea FC. The Red Devils’ previous transfer record was £30.75 million paid to Tottenham in 2008 for striker Dimitar Berbatov.
“I am thrilled to be joining United,” Mata said in a club release. “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.”
The 2013-14 campaign was Mata’s third year at Chelsea, and he was the Blues’ Player of the Season in each of his first two years at Stamford Bridge. Despite his success, Mata wasn’t a regular starter for new Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho this season, which made an exit from the club a possibility.
The signing is a fantastic move for United as the team prepares for a difficult second half of the Premier League season. The club sits in seventh place in the league standings with 37 points, six behind Liverpool and Tottenham for the final UEFA Champions League qualification spot (fourth place). United is also 14 points behind league leaders Arsenal.
The addition of Mata gives the team’s attack more creativity, playmaking skill and goal-scoring ability. He will create scoring chances for forwards such as Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, while also bringing a wealth of experience to the field.
Thumbnail photo via @ManUTD.