Premier League

Mourinho says Mata to join United

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (L) and midfielder Juan Mata.
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Jose Mourinho says Juan Mata leaves Chelsea with his and the club's blessing as the Spain playmaker's proposed £37 million ($61 million) move to Manchester United appeared close to a conclusion.

Mourinho confirmed United have broken their transfer record - a £30.75million deal for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008 - to recruit the 25-year-old midfielder, who was Chelsea's player of the year in each of the last two seasons.

The Chelsea boss said: "Things are going in a good direction and we allowed Juan to travel and to have the medical with United. I think at Manchester.

"Things are really going in that direction. Sooner, rather than later, things will be finalised.

"He's a fantastic player and despite not playing a lot for us in the last period could be a very important player for us. But Juan had this fantastic opportunity for him.

"It's what he wants. It's what he asked us to accept. Chelsea Football Club is proud to act this way, in an open way, in a human way.

"It's good for Juan, it's good for the Premier League and the offer in financial terms, is the right offer.

"The offer, compared with what the club paid two years ago (when Mata signed from Valencia), was fantastic.

"If Man United pays their record for a player it's because they know exactly what they want.

"They are convinced he's going to be important for them and we hope that he does very well for them. No fears at all. We are convinced he's going to do well.

"When we play him we are going to try to win and he does the same."

Responding to criticism of the sale from some supporters, he said: "If the fans are sad that Juan is leaving, I will say that we are also sad. No one is jumping around the place."

Chelsea announced on Thursday they are close to securing a replacement in the shape of Basel's attacking midfielder Mohamed Salah.

Salah has still to agree personal terms, but Mourinho was effusive in his praise for a player who twice scored against his side in this season's UEFA Champions League.

He said: "I like how he can play the same way our attacking players do, adapting to the left or right, or as a No 10.

"He's fast, he's creative. We believe if he comes, he will need some time to adapt - like Willian did."

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