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Man Utd agree deal to sign Chelsea playmaker Mata

Chelsea's Juan Mata acknowledges the fans after winning their game against Swindon Town in their English League Cup soccer match at the Coun
Chelsea's Juan Mata acknowledges the fans after winning their game against Swindon Town in their English League Cup soccer match at the Coun

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Spain playmaker Juan Mata from Premier League rivals Chelsea.

"MUFC has reached agreement with Chelsea for the transfer of Juan Mata for a club record fee," United said on their Twitter feed on Friday.

"The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms. A further announcement will be made in due course."

According to media reports, the 25-year-old will cost league champions United 37 million pounds ($61.06 million).

The transfer fee breaks the previous record of 30.75 million pounds the club paid Tottenham Hotspur for Bulgaria striker Dimitar Berbatov in 2008.

United do not have a game this weekend but Mata, a skilful attacking midfielder, could make his debut in Tuesday's league game against Cardiff City at Old Trafford.

The Spaniard joined Chelsea from Valencia for 23.5 million pounds in August 2011.

Mata won the Player of the Year award in his first two seasons, helping the Londoners win the 2012 Champions League and 2013 Europa League, but has been out of favor this term under manager Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese has preferred Brazilian internationals Oscar and Willian and Belgium's Eden Hazard in the three creative roles behind the lone striker in Chelsea's 4-2-3-1 system.

Mata, who has played 30 times for his country, has scored nine international goals including the last one in Spain's 4-0 win over Italy in the Euro 2012 final.

With competition fierce for places in the 2014 World Cup squad, Mata needs regular first team football and that will be virtually guaranteed in a United side crying out for flair.

Manager David Moyes inherited an ageing squad from Alex Ferguson when he took over in the close season and has endured a poor start to his career at Old Trafford.

Things reached a new low on Wednesday when United lost at home on penalties to Sunderland in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

United are also out of the FA Cup and occupy seventh spot in the league, 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.

They are still in the Champions League but on current form seem to have little chance of winning that competition.

($1 = 0.6060 British pounds)

(Writing by Mike Collett,; editing by Tony Jimenez) nL3N0KY4VD

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