Juan Mata will be officially unveiled as a Manchester United player on Sunday, potentially kicking off a frantic last week of the transfer window for the English champions.
The club hope Wayne Rooney will also sign a new £300,000-a-week contract, although sources close to the situation maintain negotiations are still not that advanced and no deal has yet been struck.
Mata flew into United’s Carrington training centre by helicopter yesterday and, after successfully completing his medical, will become the club’s record signing at £37 million, surpassing the £30.75m spent on Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.
The Spain midfielder was warmly greeted by United players both in person and on social media yesterday, but he may only be the first of three arrivals. David Moyes, United’s manager, also wants to bring in a central midfielder and a left-back before Friday’s deadline. One club source stated: “There is a real excitement around Old Trafford.”
United officials were hugely confident earlier last week that Rooney would finally agree to a deal. It is understood the player and his camp are “open-minded” about a new deal and willing to see whether the offer matches their terms.
Some Old Trafford sources claim that marks a significant change in stance and that Rooney’s representatives had previously refused to enter negotiations despite a number of attempts. Those close to the player maintain that it was always merely their intention to “wait and see” how things worked out, however, and that their position was never that cast-iron. Rooney is known to have wanted to see who United sign in this window and how they are then set up to finish the season, with Champions’ League qualification an obvious concern.
In that regard, the purchase of Mata will have enthused Rooney, and it was noted that he followed the former Chelsea player on Twitter on Friday.
United also look intent on addressing issues elsewhere on the pitch after what was a frustrating first transfer window in the summer for Moyes and Ed Woodward, the club’s new chief executive. A £22m bid has been placed for Southampton’s Luke Shaw, and initial contact has been for a number of midfielders, including Juventus’ Arturo Vidal. United are also looking at Newcastle United’s Yohan Cabaye and Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos as well as, in the longer term, Borussia Dortmund’s Ilkay Gündogan.
After selling Mata, Jose Mourinho claims Chelsea will sign a prime goalscorer in the summer rather than this week. The Portuguese stated his January business will be finished with the anticipated purchase of Basel’s Mohamed Salah.
“It’s something we have to do in the next transfer window,” said Mourinho. “It’s an area where none of our three strikers is the striker for the next 10 years, like we have in the other positions. Fernando Torres and Demba Ba are 28, 29 and Samuel Eto’o is 31 or 32 so not one of them is a player for 10 years. I know people probably can think what they need is a striker to score 30 goals like [Sergio] Aguero and [Edin] Dzeko and [Luis] Suarez, but the most important thing for us is not today.”
Mourinho also denied such plans mean he is not convinced by his on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku. “No, no, I am convinced he can be up there.”
West Ham made it an Italian double yesterday as they signed Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino on loan until the end of the season. Both Italy internationals, the striker Borriello arrives from Roma and midfielder Nocerino from Milan.
Borriello, 31, was rumoured to be a target of Manchester City in 2010 and won the title with Juventus during a loan spell in 2012. The 28-year-old Nocerino, who scored one of the penalties in the shoot-out against England at Euro 2012, has found himself sidelined this season having previously been a key man at Milan after arriving at San Siro in 2011.
The Italians arrive a day after Leeds turned down an offer from the Hammers for their leading scorer Ross McCormack.
Stoke have reached an agreement with Cardiff over a move for Peter Odemwingie, which will see Kenwyne Jones head to south Wales in a player-exchange transfer.
The Potters have announced that the deal is subject to both strikers passing medicals and agreeing personal terms. However, Stoke hope to conclude their move for Odemwingie today.