DAVID Moyes has promised that the club-record capture of Juan Mata will be “the first of many” new arrivals at Manchester United this year.
The Barclays Premier League champions announced the £37.1 million signing of the Spanish playmaker on Saturday evening.
It is a deal which it is hoped might give United’s difficult campaign some impetus, with the team seventh in the league and out of both domestic cup competitions.
Talks are under way with striker Wayne Rooney to extend his agreement with the club, while there have also been reports of a bid for highly-rated Southampton left-back Luke Shaw as Moyes looks to put his stamp on the squad he inherited from Sir Alex Ferguson.
Moyes said of signing Mata: “This is the first, and there will be many more to come in time. I want the quality of Juan to be the start of it.
“I don’t think we will have any more (new signings) in January – I’m still working on it and looking to do so. But hopefully it will be the first of some new signings, some new players who will arrive, more likely in the summertime.”
The Scot admitted the signing had lifted the mood at Old Trafford. He told MUTV: “Undoubtedly we could all do with a bit of a lift. We have not done as well as we would have liked to do. We see this as the start, we have to look to improve and I’m going to try to bring in some new players to make that happen.
“I want to build an exciting team, I want to win and I want to give the supporters something to shout about. I’ve not done that often enough.”
Moyes, who said he would probably look to get Mata involved in Tuesday night’s Premier League game against Cardiff, said it was a surprise that the deal was able to be done mid-season.
“I never felt that we would get that opportunity,” he added. “I wasn’t sure that Chelsea would ever sell him to us. Thankfully we got there and I am delighted he is here. I’m a bit surprised because it’s not something that tends to happen especially between Premier League teams, but we have got a really exciting player, a player I’m looking forward to working with, a player I think everybody in football looked at and says he did a great job for Chelsea.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him in a red jersey and doing it for us.”
Mata, who will be formally presented as a United player at lunchtime today, has also expressed surprise that Chelsea had been prepared to let him go.
“To be honest I think it’s a bit surprising, but I have to say I am really grateful to Chelsea – to the owner, to the people working in the club and to the fans,” he said. “The last six months were difficult for me, I didn’t play as much as I wanted to.
“I understand that football is a team sport and I respected that situation. But the chance to come to Manchester United was a great chance for me to carry on with my career. They are a massive club.”
Mata revealed he had been in contact with United goalkeeper David de Gea, a team-mate at international level.
“He had been texting me the last five or six days, asking me ‘when are you coming, when are you landing? Are you coming by helicopter or by bicycle?’ ” he said.
“At the end I am very happy to be with him. He’s a very good friend and an amazing goalkeeper, so he is important for me.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea yesterday completed the acquisition of 21-year-old Egyptian Basel winger Mohamed Salah, who has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract and will wear the No 15 shirt at Stamford Bridge.
He said: “I’m very happy to sign for such a big club. I hope I can make the Chelsea supporters happy.”
The deal is for a reported fee of £11 million as Chelsea landed the forward ahead of Liverpool.
Once it was clear Mata was to join Manchester United, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho began looking for a replacement and Salah immediately came to mind. He has played against Chelsea four times in the last 12 months, scoring three times, including in Basel’s two Champions League Group E victories over Mourinho’s men earlier this season.
Mourinho has spoken of his admiration for Salah, the potential of the player and said the Blues made their move quickly.
“I like the fact that he can play the same way our attacking players do, which is players with adaptability, to play right, left or behind the striker,” Mourinho said.
“He’s young, he’s fast, he’s creative, he’s enthusiastic. When we analysed him he looks the kind of humble personality on the pitch, ready to work for the team and to work and to adapt himself to a new life.”