Mourinho confirmed that Mata is on his way to Manchester United and will have a medical before his £37m move there from Chelsea FC
Mata was Chelsea’s player of the year for the last two seasons but has been ignored by the Chelsea manager this season. The Spaniard has largely been on the bench and Mourinho has preferred Eden Hazard, Willian and Oscar as his playmakers.
Manchester United have not confirmed anything so far. Even the official website has simply quoted Mourinho and has not published any views of the club.
Mourinho, in his pre-Stoke match conference spoke about Juan Mata’s almost-done departure
“He was fantastic for Chelsea. Chelsea was fantastic for him. We want him to go there and be happy and do well for Manchester United.
“Things are going in a good direction. I think sooner, rather than later, it will be finalised. It’s a fantastic opportunity for him. The offer we have received, we feel, is the right offer for the quality of the player.”
Mourinho added that the Mata transfer did not have anything to do with Wayne Rooney’s arrival at Stamford Bridge:
“If we said to United: ‘You didn’t sell us Wayne Rooney in the summer so we won’t sell you Juan Mata,’ that is not right. We had an offer that is a right offer. I asked him [Mata]: ‘Are you really happy to go?’ He said: ‘Yes, I’m really happy to go.'”
The Portuguese boss wished the player well and added that the Spain international will be received warmly at Stamford Bridge:
“One day, if he comes back to Chelsea in a Manchester United shirt, then the stadium will show him how much they respect him.
“We are not afraid of his going there to do very well for United. We want him to go there and be happy to do very well for United.
“He’s a player who’s been playing in the League for three years, so it’s not a gamble to see if he adapts well. They are convinced he’ll be important for them, so no fears.
“We hope he does well. We are convinced he’s going to do well. If Man United pays their record for a player, it’s because they know exactly what they want from him and what he can give them.
“Obviously, when we play him, we’re going to try to win and he’ll do the same, but the reality is that everybody in this club, the owner to the last man, wish him the very best.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and City manager Manuel Pellegrini both expressed their views regarding such a high profile transfer in mid-season.
“He [Mourinho] sums up what Chelsea’s thinking is. I am surprised because Juan Mata is a great player and they sell a great player to a direct opponent. It opens [up] again a little bit the opportunity of this transfer market because Chelsea had already played twice against Man United so they don’t play again. They could have sold him last week [before the United game].
“It opens, at least, the opportunity of the dates of this transfer window. Some teams have already played twice against one opponent and some others, not. If you want to respect the fairness for everybody exactly in the game, that should not happen. I just think you would want everybody on the same level. I can understand completely what Chelsea is doing. They do not do the rules but, maybe, the rules should be a bit more adapted to more fairness.
Mourinho responded by saying that the Arsenal manager’s comments are not surprising since he is always complaining:
“Wenger complaining is normal, because he always does. It’s something that we know. When a player plays for a club on August 20 and two weeks later on September 5 plays against the same club with a different shirt, this is normal, because this is the market.
“We don’t do the market, we don’t do the rules, we have just to do according to the rules. If Wenger sells Özil to Man United in this moment I would be very happy because he sells a very important player. Normally he should be happy that Chelsea sold a player like Juan Mata, but this is a little bit his nature. When he says this is not fair, I think what is not fair is that his team always has the best days to play”.
Manchester City’s boss also complained, a little diplomatically:
“Personally I don’t agree that the player can go from one team to another team in the same league at this part of the year, but rules are rules and he can change clubs.”