Several reports out of England say Chelsea and Manchester United finalized the Juan Mata transfer late Wednesday evening, moving the out-of-favor midfielder north from London up to Old Trafford for a reported $61 million.
Manchester United continue to officially deny having made an offer, but various reports have noted that the Spanish midfielder has already said his goodbyes to Chelsea teammates in West London, and already has a medical evaluation arranged for Thursday with the current Premier League champs.
BBC reports say Mata’s deal at Old Trafford will be for four and a half years.
A few things to know about the big move (easily the biggest among Premier League teams thus far in the soon-to-close January transfer window):
- Assuming all goes well with the medical, Mata could debut for his new club in less than a week during United’s must-win match against relegation threatened Cardiff City. That contest is Tuesday at Old Trafford.
- As Joe Prince-Wright noted earlier today while keeping tabs on the fast-moving deal between the Premier League big boys, Chelsea did quite well for itself in the profit-department. Chelsea paid $38 million to Valencia two years ago. So in addition to clearing more than $20 million on the deal, they got two highly productive years from the Spanish midfielder. So that’ll certainly buy a few more practice balls or a few new flat screens for the players’ lounge.
- Speaking of Spain, a main impetus behind the move from Mata’s side was getting back on the La Furia Roja radar. With so many juicy options, Spain manager Vicente del Bosque might have had a hard time selecting a player for World Cup duty who was not getting regular games. For whatever reason, Mata had fallen from grace around Stamford Bridge; he had started just 14 games this year for Jose Mourinho.
- This is finally a “W” for Manchester United in the transfer sweepstakes, a much needed one after apparent, high profile swings and misses on Cesc Fabregas, Gareth Bale and Leighton Baines, to name three.
- This gives Moyes’ team, struggling for traction and in danger of failing to even finish Top Four, an experienced, creative midfielder. The playmaking duties have generally fallen this year on Wayne Rooney (not his best role), Shinji Kagawa (not quite there) and Adnan Januzaj (talented, but too young for the job).
(MORE: Initial reactions to Mata’s move into Old Trafford)
The Internet exploded at around 12:50 p.m. ET on Saturday after Jamie Vardy — yes, Jamie Vardy — broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record for most consecutive games with a goal.
[ WATCH: The goal | The game — Leicester City vs. Manchester United ]
Yes, an Englishman is back atop the charts. An Englishman who was playing for Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town before heading to Leicester.
He’s perhaps the reminder, as Rio Ferdinand Tweeted below, that the most unlikely of scenarios is still not impossible.
He did it. He actually did it.
Jamie Vardy made Premier League history on Saturday, scoring for the 11th consecutive game to become the first player in history to achieve that magnificent feat.
[ MORE: Twitter reacts to Vardy ]
Tied with Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy heading into Leicester’s clash against United on Saturday, it took Vardy just 24 minutes to set the new record as Christian Fuchs played a delicate ball in-behind United’s defense and Vardy did the rest.
[ MORE: Can Vardy, Leicester achieve unthinkable? ]
Watch the video below to see the King Power Stadium erupt as a truly memorable moment arrived.
Now, the next record for Vardy to break is from the 1931-32 English top-flight season, before the PL was formed. Sheffield United’s Jimmy Dunne scored in 12-straight games way back then.
Anyway, congratulations Mr. Vardy for making PL history.
This was an all-timer.
Bournemouth came back from a 2-0 halftime deficit only to watch Ross Barkley hand Everton a one-goal lead with a score in the final minute of stoppage time.
[ MATCH RECAP: Bournemouth 3-3 Everton ]
But after fans were cleared from the field, Junior Stanislas provided the dramatic answer for Bournemouth to force a 3-3 draw at Dean Court.
Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew tried hard not to throw shade on his former side, or at least put in a post-match press conference that choked down his passive aggression.
The Eagles thumped Newcastle United 5-1 on Saturday at Selhurst Park behind braces from Yannick Bolasie and James McArthur, as well as a tally from Wilfried Zaha.
[ MATCH RECAP: Crystal Palace 5-1 Newcastle United ]
And the former Newcastle boss held back, mostly, from further embarrassing his old side, instead heralding the starring role of former Sunderland forward Connor Wickham, who put in a Team of the Week performance despite not scoring himself.
“We caused problems everywhere,” Pardew said. “Connor Wickham gave a centre forward’s performance we always hoped he would. We were irresistible today.”
“We are sixth in the division because we are a good team, it was not about the opposition today. I have a lot of friends and family at Newcastle but I don’t want to say a lot about them because I get criticised whatever I say.”
Newcastle, for its part, was mostly useless after scoring early on a classy chip pass from Daryl Janmaat to Papiss Cisse. Could Steve McClaren be fired after just 14 games in charge? Newcastle’s 19th place status says it wouldn’t be unfair.
And after losing to Sunderland last week, Pardew doubled-down on his status as a Newcastle plague in the Northeast.