Juan Mata

Reports: Chelsea and Manchester United finalize a deal, as Juan Mata transfer to Old Trafford apparently complete

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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)

Ranking the Copa America Centenario contenders

Copa America trophy — 2015 Copa America
AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo
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Sixteen teams enter next month’s Copa America Centenario tournament, and only one emerges as the champion of North, South and Central America.

Will it be Chile who continues its reign? Will Argentina, Brazil or Uruguay find revenge? Can a CONCACAF side thrive with the tourney in the United States?

[ PREVIEWS: Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D ]

There a varying degrees of likelihood that a country rises above the field to win this year’s competition. In this post, we’ll rank the sides from 16 to 1, unlikeliest to likeliest.

16. Haiti — Happy to be there? Circling the Peru match on its calendar.

15. Venezuela — If Salomon Rondon can make things happen, who knows?

14. Bolivia — Lots of work to be done here.

13. Jamaica — Winfried Schaefer’s team has struggled since its strong Gold Cup.

12. Peru — Inexperience will be a problem.

11. Paraguay — Wins have been hard to come by for Los Guaraníes.

10. Panama — Are they primed for a run, or too old to outlast its group opponents?

9. Ecuador — Dangerous but inconsistent, La Tricolor has an easier group from which to advance than most.

8. Costa Rica — If the USMNT falters under the pressure of hosts, Los Ticos will be most likely to benefit in Group A.

[ USMNT-ECUADOR: Match recap | Player ratings | 3 things ]

7. United States — Hosting is a big deal, and Jurgen Klinsmann seems ready to take a more orthodox approach to his lineups. The Yanks will run more than a few teams ragged, depending on how the chips fall.

6. Uruguay — Navigating the absence of Luis Suarez, which could last the group stage or longer, knocks them down a peg.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

5. Mexico — It’s another golden generation for El Tri, and it’s not far-fetched to imagine Mexico makes a run at everything.

4. Colombia — James Rodriguez goes back to being the focal point of an attack, and will remind us just how good he is while under the spotlight.

3. Chile — Repeating is hard, and Chile had a lot of home cooking good fortune in its hosted run to a first title.

2. Brazil — No the side won’t be fully loaded, but Dunga has shown he knows how to run a side with or without Neymar.

  1. Argentina — This could be Lionel Messi’s year to lift hardware for club and country.

Ferdinand lauds Mourinho hiring: “This winner is now a wounded animal”

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Rio Ferdinand isn’t waiting for Manchester United to make it official, lauding the hiring of Jose Mourinho as his former club’s latest manager.

Ferdinand said Mourinho’s personality is “made for this great club”, as the longtime Red Devils defender took to Facebook to hail the Special One.

[ MORE: Five things United must do under Mourinho ]

Ferdinand, 37, made 455 appearances for United in a 19-year career that included stops at West Ham, QPR, Bournemouth and Leeds.

He says Mourinho will be a motivated and dangerous boss when he takes control in place of fired manager Louis Van Gaal.

“After his recent unsuccessful time at Chelsea in the final year, I can assure you this winner is now a wounded animal which makes him such a mouthwatering appointment. Jose went from winning the League Cup & Premier League to a season of disappointment at Chelsea and I am certain he will want to restore all of that very quickly.”

LISTEN: Copa America drops official song “Superstar” (Pitbull warning)

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Pitbull has joined forces with Becky G to make the official song of the Copa America Centenario, “Superstar”, which they will perform before the final.

I know Pitbull for liking light beer, and Becky G for going on dates with Sebastian Lletget of the L.A. Galaxy.

[ PREVIEWS: Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D ]

This, in all its pop glory, has a catchy-enough hook and a stadium-like chant that hopes to catch on like “Seven Nation Army”. The kids should dig it.

That’s all I got. Enjoy the jammage.

Report: Mourinho signs deal with Manchester United

Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho gestures during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 26, 2014.  AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS 

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
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Noon ET.

That’s the time Sky Sports claims that Jose Mourinho put pen to paper on a deal that makes him the latest manager of Manchester United.

[ MORE: Five things United must do under Mourinho ]

The report says Mourinho returned home with a bottle of red wine after signing the deal at a London hotel.

From Sky Sports:

Mourinho symbolically wore a black and red tie for the final stage of negotiations, and the deal is completed on the 12th anniversary of his winning the Champions League for the first time with Porto.

Now, we wait. As a publicly-traded company, there are certain constraints United faces in making announcements that other clubs don’t have to entertain.