Juan Mata: Manchester United present £37.1m club record signing
David Moyes sat smiling alongside his new signing Juan Mata as the Spaniard was officially presented as a Manchester United player, following the completion of his £37.1m transfer from Chelsea.
Mata said it was a “great” feeling to complete his move that will see him ply his trade at Old Trafford from now on, in what is undoubtedly the biggest transfer of the January window so far.
“Obviously the last six months at Chelsea were difficult for me,” said the Spaniard. “But now I'm looking forward to winning trophies for Manchester United. The welcome was unbelievable for me, coming here by helicopter... even for the fans on social media.”
Mata refused to blame his former manager Jose Mourinho for freezing him out at Chelsea since he returned in the summer. Mourinho decided that Brazilian attacking midfielder Oscar would be the focus of his side rather than the two-time Chelsea player of the year, and elected to drop Mata to the bench – sometimes from the squad completely – which eventually led to his departure.
“I think it's football, everything is possible,” Mata explained when speaking about the manner of his Stamford Bridge exit. “The first two moments at Chelsea were amazing. The last six months at Chelsea were difficult but I respect that. Jose is a very good manager, they have top players, I respected my team-mates. When Man United came it was a great option for me.”
He stressed that despite the expectation already on his shoulders to turn United’s fortunes around, the team already has a talented core and that everything will be fine by the summer with Moyes set to strengthen his squad further.
He added: “Man United is a massive club. In England it is the club with the most fans around the world. It is a big challenge for me. But I think everything is going to be fine, with the players that are going to come in in the summer.”
Mata was later asked whether he was the man to turnaround their chances and lift United from their current standing of seventh in the Premier League.
“I hope so,” said Mata. “The team is really good. This season they had some unlucky moments they didn't deserve.”
He did confirm that his Brazil 2014 World Cup hopes did figure in his decision to leave the Blues, with Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque having a wealth of talent to choose from in midfield.
“It was really important because the Spanish squad is really difficult to get in,” Mata admitted. “I hope it is going to be a great chance for me to keep playing and be fit and show to the manager that I want to be there.”
The 25-year-old also revealed his excitement to work with striker Wayne Rooney, who he labelled one of the best players to have graced the England national team. Rooney is currently recovering from a groin injury, but Mata’s arrival is believed to have sparked contract extension talks between the 28-year-old and the club.
"For me he is one of the best players in the history of this country," Mata said at his unveiling.
"He is unbelievable, he can score and he can assist.
"I will try to connect with him as much as I can. I will try to find the gaps in rival defences, try to be in the positions I have to be in to assist the strikers."
Asked about the pressure that comes with his price tag, Mata said: "I like the pressure, I think it's good for a footballer to try to improve.
"People are expecting big things from me and I am looking forward to it."
Belfast Telegraph Digital