‘I really wanted to feel what it is to be a Manchester United player’: Juan Mata reveals he convinced Chelsea to let him seal 2014 Old Trafford move… and was shocked by ‘special’ helicopter ride to United’s training ground
- Juan Mata admitted he was forced to convince Chelsea to let him leave in 2014
- The playmaker was initially reluctant to leave before joining Manchester United
- Mata was voted Player of the Year in his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge
- But after struggling for game time, Mata opted to take up United’s interest
- Mata explained that the allure of joining United proved too strong to turn down
Juan Mata has revealed he convinced Chelsea to allow him to leave in 2014 and seal a dream switch to Manchester United.
The veteran playmaker was initially reluctant to leave the club, having been named Player of the Year in his first two campaigns in west London, but later opted to accept a move to United.
The 31-year-old admitted that the prospect of featuring at Old Trafford proved too strong to turn down, with Mata recruited for the latter part of a largely woeful campaign under David Moyes.
Juan Mata revealed he convinced Chelsea to allow him to join Manchester United in 2014
The playmaker was a popular figure in London but struggled for game time in his third season
United snapped up the Spanish international for a reported £37.1million fee, with former boss Jose Mourinho confirming that Chelsea allowed Mata to travel to Manchester to undergo his medical.
After originally snubbing interest from several potential suitors, Mata was then informed of interest from the reigning Premier League champions – and promptly told Chelsea that a move would be in the best interest of all parties.
Mata said in the latest episode of the UTD Podcast: ‘When Manchester United called and they said “We’re going to go for you and make an offer to Chelsea, we want you to come”, I spoke with them. I really wanted to go and really wanted to feel what it is to be a Manchester United player.
‘I had suffered playing against United with Chelsea and they are definitely one of the biggest clubs in the world. At that moment, they were struggling with the first season of [David] Moyes and were not doing great in the league, but that doesn’t matter. I wanted to come to be a player for this club.
United confirmed the £37.1million signing after Chelsea agreed to let Mata seal negotiations
The 31-year-old said the prospect of playing at Old Trafford proved too strong to turn down
‘I spoke to Chelsea and said: “Listen, there is this offer. It’s also good money and you can sign another player, because I’m telling you so that you have time to sign another player. I’m not playing a lot and want to take this opportunity. It’s perfect for everyone.” So it happened.’
Mata was infamously flown to United’s training base after negotiations were wrapped up and the silky attacker also opened up on his journey north, having managed to avoid the long drive to Carrington.
He added: ‘I thought I was going to take a car but, from the club, they tell me “No, we’re preparing a helicopter for you. We want you to arrive at Carrington”.
‘So the day everything was signed and I come for the medical, it was very windy and rainy. I was supposed to take the helicopter from next to my house in London, as there was a helicopter place, but we couldn’t so I had to go outside London. I remember that trip, coming with my parents over Birmingham, seeing everything because it was low.
Mata also recently revealed he was embarrassed to face supporters after United’s poor finish
‘Then there was a point where we saw a green space with football pitches and a red building. We landed and Moyes was waiting for me and David De Gea, as soon as I went in.
‘It was very special, to be honest, to arrive in that way. I’d never been to Manchester other than to play against City and United but, no, never before.’
But after United’s well-publicised struggles during Mata’s first season in a red jersey, the star recently revealed he was embarrassed to face supporters after the team slumped to seventh.
Mata even believed that United’s players would be jeered off the field after their win against Hull in the final game of the campaign, but was pleasantly surprised after witnessing the opposite reaction.
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