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.
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.
“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.
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.