The sudden and swift acquisition of Juan Mata by Manchester United seemed to have hit a bog, but with Jose Mourinho speaking on the near-completed deal earlier today, it’s now even closer.
Manchester United today confirmed via Twitter that the club has agreed with Chelsea on a club-record transfer fee for the 25-year-old Spaniard.
Personal terms have yet to be agreed upon and a medical still must be completed, but by all accounts the player is up for the switch.
No specific number was given by the Manchester club, and they said further announcements would come “in due time.”
However, with confirmation that the deal is a club record, it surpasses the fee they paid Tottenham Hotspur for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008, reportedly around £31 million ($51.1 million). Mata’s fee should exceed that by a considerable amount.
The deal is an outstanding one for all parties.
Manchester United get their playmaker to carry the burden of bringing the club back into the top four. Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes both still believe the club can challenge for the title (publicly, at least), but realistically that’s way beyond lost.
Chelsea sold a player they weren’t using, and while it’s to a Premier League rival, Arsene Wenger can pipe down since Moyes and company are far behind in the title race (and one only needs to conjure up the words “Van Persie” and they have proof of the Arsenal manager’s hypocrisy).
Mata is goalless on the year, but has 17 goals and 30 assists the previous two Premier League seasons with Chelsea.
— Vancouver finishes first with a win or draw at Portland. The ‘Caps could finish as low as third with a loss to Portland and a Seattle win versus Colorado.
— Portland finishes first — and wins the Cascadia Cup — with a win over visiting Vancouver.
— Seattle can claim a first round bye with a win over visiting Colorado and a Vancouver win over Portland.
— Sporting KC can finish second with a win at Real Salt Lake and non-wins for Portland and Seattle.
Final playoff spot
— San Jose claims the sixth seed with a home win over Minnesota. They can also finish sixth with a draw joined by non-wins for FC Dallas at home to LA and Real Salt Lake at home versus SKC.
— FC Dallas claims the sixth seed with a win over LA and a San Jose draw or loss versus Minnesota. FCD gets sixth with a draw, and a San Jose loss coupled with a RSL loss or draw versus SKC.
— Real Salt Lake gets sixth with a win over SKC, and non-wins from San Jose and Dallas. RSL could also get sixth with a draw and losses for San Jose and Dallas.
Schedule FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy
DC United vs. New York Red Bulls
San Jose vs. Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
Houston vs. Chicago
Seattle vs. Colorado
Philadelphia vs. Orlando City
Portland vs. Vancouver
Montreal vs. New England
New York City vs. Columbus
Atlanta vs. Toronto
— NYCFC hangs on for a draw against Columbus, earning a bye, leaving Chicago to host New York Red Bulls and Atlanta off to Columbus for the first round of the playoffs (We have Toronto beating Atlanta on Sunday).
— Vancouver and Portland draw, while Seattle beats Colorado. The ‘Caps and Sounders get byes, while Seattle takes back the Cascadia Cup.
— San Jose beats Minnesota, gaining the West’s sixth seed. The Quakes head to Portland for the first round, while SKC hosts Houston.
“Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.”
Chelsea may not look as good as Man City or Manchester United, but is still well-positioned to finish amongst the leaders and is leading a very difficult UCL group with Roma and Atletico Madrid. Things are fine, but the gossip storm just won’t leave Conte and his future at Chelsea alone (Thanks, Italian press).
Fonte said he understands why fans are booing the club, which has eight points and sits in the bottom half of the Premier League.
Given the club’s summer spending, with Javier Hernandez, Joe Hart, and Marko Arnautovic amongst the buys, pressure’s been on Bilic to deliver the goods. So far, the Irons have not.
Bilic did not deny his role nor his responsibility. From the BBC:
“It’s very hard for me to say anything clever now. I take full responsibility for it. I don’t want to hide.
“It is not a good situation and the board will do what they are going to do. It’s their decision.”
Not a man who feels like he’ll have his job much longer, but is it fair? A lot of West Ham’s key pieces are new, but surely they are not a club who should be peering over its collective shoulder to see the drop zone.