On this day in 2014: Manchester United complete club-record signing of Juan Mata

Soccer – Manchester United Press Conference – Juan Mata Unveiling – Aon Training Complex
(Image credit: Lynne Cameron)

David Moyes signalled his intention to stamp his authority on Old Trafford after smashing Manchester United’s transfer record to land Juan Mata from Chelsea in a £37.1million deal.

Moyes’ move for the midfielder beat the previous highest mark of £30.75 for Dimitar Berbatov, and appeared to signal the club hierarchy’s backing for the under-pressure former Everton boss.

Mata arrived with United ailing in seventh place in the Premier League table having already been eliminated from the FA and Capital One Cups.

Sheffield United v Manchester United – Premier League – Bramall Lane

Juan Mata joined Manchester United on this day in 2014 (Peter Powell/PA)

Mata said the time was right to seek a new challenge despite winning two consecutive player of the year trophies at Chelsea.

“I have enjoyed some very happy years at Chelsea but the time has come for a new challenge,” said Mata.

“United is the perfect place for me and I am excited at the chance I have to be part of the next phase in the club’s history.

Arsenal v Manchester United – Premier League – Emirates Stadium

Juan Mata’s arrival at Old Trafford could not save David Moyes from the sack (John Walton/PA)

“Chelsea is a top club and I have many friends there but you cannot turn down the chance to join Manchester United.

“I look forward to helping the manager and the team be successful in the coming years.”

Moyes called Mata “one of the finest playmakers in the game today,” and indicated that he hoped the Spain international’s arrival would begin an upsurge in United’s fortunes.

Soccer – UEFA Champions League – Quarter Final – Second Leg – Bayern Munich v Manchester United – Allianz Arena

David Moyes lasted just three months after landing Juan Mata (Martin Rickett/PA)

But while Mata went on to justify his record-breaking price tag, Moyes was already on borrowed time and was dismissed just three months later.

Mata would later reflect: “I always feel bad when a manager has to go, because it means that you are not doing right, or you are not getting results. So it’s not a nice feeling. So unfortunately he had to go.”

Yet if Moyes’ overall impact on United was minimal, he can always point to having overseen the arrival of the Spaniard, who will soon be approaching his 200th Premier League appearance for the club.

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