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)

Sanchez, Mkhitaryan transfer still up in the air

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The player-swap/trade/transfer between Arsenal and Manchester United still appears to be heading towards completion, but it was further delayed Friday.

Multiple reports in England state that while Alexis Sanchez seems set to move to Manchester United, Henrik Mkhitaryan has yet to agree to move the other way, as talks between the player’s agent and Arsenal continue. Mkhitaryan was seen training at Manchester United’s practice facility on Friday, and because the latest delay, both players would be unable to debut for their new teams this weekend after missing the Premier League registration deadline.

[MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks]

Arsenal hosts Crystal Palace Manchester United travels to Burnley, both on Saturday at 10 a.m. (Watch Arsenal live on CNBC, Manchester United live on NBCSN, and both live on NBCSports.com)

The London Evening Standard reports that Mkhitaryan would command a $242,000-per-week salary but that as of Friday morning he had yet to undergo a medical for the transfer. Arsenal reportedly still wants a transfer fee included for Sanchez, while Manchester United would prefer to just swap the two players.

It’s also looking as if that won’t be Arsenal’s only business in the transfer market. While it seemed like a far-fetched rumor at first, the links between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Arsenal have only grown stronger in the past few days, and the Gabon international appears to be in the Gunners sights. It appears that Bordeaux’s young striker Malcolm is now off the table.

Vancouver adds versatile Juarez, formerly of Monterrey, Celtic

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Efrain Juarez is bringing his game to Major League Soccer.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 39-times capped Mexico veteran has inked a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, joining a strengthened unit which came within a point of winning the West last season.

Juarez, 29, was unveiled as a midfielder by the ‘Caps, though he’s primarily played right back in his club career. He’s played at Celtic, Real Zaragoza, Club America, Monterrey, and Pumas.

Last capped by El Tri in 2012, Juarez has played every position except goal, center attacking mid, and center forward in his career (picture a ‘U’ on the pitch).

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

VIDEO: Asensio goal ends Real Madrid’s winless run

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Marco Asensio’s eighth goal of the season and second of this Copa del Rey put an end to an unlikely Real Madrid winless run in a 1-0 victory at Leganes.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 21-year-old darted in front of a defender to volley home from in-tight, giving Real Madrid a first leg lead in the tournament quarterfinals.

More importantly, perhaps, it gives struggling Real a boost in morale after draws with Celta Vigo and Numancia, and a loss to Villarreal.

Real is home to Deportivo de la Coruna in La Liga before hosting Leganes in the second leg.

Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is probably happy that his for-sale club is away this weekend, even though his side’s up against Manchester City.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.

Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.

A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:

“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there have been protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.