Transfer news: Wayne Rooney row with Chelsea is factor in Manchester United using third party deal to sign £37m Juan Mata

Juan Mata is expected to be unveiled at Old Trafford today

Manchester United’s highly unusual use of intermediaries to conclude the Juan Mata deal may have stemmed from their strained relations with Chelsea after last summer’s dispute over Wayne Rooney.

United are likely to have been turned down flat, had they called Chelsea asking for permission to speak to Mata, after being made aware of his desire to leave west London. Though the details of how the deal has been done are yet to emerge, the possible sequence of events is that Mata instructed his agent to find him a new club, United were made aware through a third party, but then needed an intermediary of their own to begin discussions.

The club could not have approached Mata directly or they could have faced the same charges of trying to tap up a player which resulted in manager David Moyes’ former club Everton being hit with a £45,000 fine and embarrassed this week. The identity of United as the club with principal interest in Mata could therefore have been masked by intermediaries until it became clear that there was business to be done. Then they made their move.

The deal – which is likely to see the 25-year-old undergo a medical at Carrington today – reveals the way that intermediaries and agents can get in on the action when clubs are unable to do business with each other. The alternative explanation of United’s use of a third party is that they wanted to call in transfer market experience which they possessed when Sir Alex Ferguson and former chief executive David Gill ran the club.

United are understood to have had no contact whatsoever with the influential businessman Kia Joorabchian, who took Carlos Tevez from United to City in 2009 and who has been on the edges of this deal.

Related stories...
Mourinho hopes Mata will do well for United
Rooney row is factor in third party deal for Mata
Manchester United's most expensive signings... were they worth it?
Are Manchester United about to sign to most effective midfielder in the Premier League?
Chelsea will regret selling Mata to United - Wenger
Chelsea gazump Liverpool with rapid move for Salah
Mohamed Salah and the Maccabi Tel Aviv handshake furore
Player profile: Who is Mohamed Salah?

United’s nightmare season showed no sign of easing when they learned that the twisted ankle sustained by midfielder Michael Carrick against Sunderland on Wednesday night will keep him out for at least three weeks. Carrick was in great discomfort when he arrived at Carrington yesterday and though United are hopeful that he has avoided the lengthy lay-off that comes with torn ligaments, there is an anxious wait for scan results to reveal the full picture.

The Carrick situation is a particular concern for United, with Anderson now out on loan at Fiorentina, Marouane Fellaini still recovering from a wrist operation and Darren Fletcher only recently back from serious illness. That leaves only Tom Cleverley, 40-year-old Ryan Giggs and Phil Jones, who is best suited to centre-half. Even three weeks out would mean Carrick, who missed 10 successive games with injury in the autumn, will be missing from the fixtures with Cardiff City, Stoke City, Fulham and Arsenal and only return for the final 12 weeks of the season.

United are likely to announce Mata as their player today but the club share price dropped from $15 (£9) to $14.85 yesterday, only just above the 12-month low of $14.75. Even Fifa are now having their say on the club’s problems. A feature in the world governing body’s latest weekly magazine is entitled: “United at the crossroads.” It argues that “radical change could be the only solution”.

They have him: and he cost - but more than these below?


peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam