Moyes set to enter the race for £30m Saints star Shaw
United to do summer battle with Chelsea in next step of revolution
United are preparing for a £30m battle with Chelsea over Luke Shaw after identifying the Southampton full-back as a priority summer target.
Having thwarted Chelsea's attempts to lure Wayne Rooney from Old Trafford by moving towards a long-term contract for the England forward, United believe they have engineered another triumph over the Stamford Bridge club by completing a £37.1m move for Spanish midfielder Juan Mata.
The contract breakthrough with Rooney could result in the 28-year-old signing a £300,000-a-week deal in the coming days.
But with Mata signed and Rooney close to agreeing terms, United manager David Moyes has now charged executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward with completing a deal for Shaw at the end of the season – despite Chelsea appearing to lead the way in pursuit of the left-back because of his boyhood support of the London club.
United have explored the possibility of a move for the 18-year-old this month after ending interest in Everton's Leighton Baines, but Southampton's resistance to a sale has forced the champions to delay formal efforts until the summer.
With Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho planning to sign a long-term replacement for Ashley Cole, however, United are bracing themselves for a bidding war that could take Shaw's fee beyond £30m.
Relations between United and Chelsea remain frosty, despite the clubs thrashing out a deal for Mata. Chelsea's attempts to sign Rooney last summer, which resulted in two unsuccessful bids for the player, fuelled a sense of distrust between senior figures at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford which prompted United to enlist the help of third parties to arrange the Mata deal.
With Woodward reluctant to deal directly with Chelsea in order to avoid Rooney being used as a bargaining chip in negotiations, United left negotiations to Mata's father, Juan senior, and solicitor Colin Pomford.
Moyes, meanwhile, has challenged Mata to deliver quickly on the pitch and the training ground after admitting the club-record buy must bridge the team's creativity gap.
Moyes plans to hand Mata his United debut against Cardiff City at Old Trafford tomorrow night following the completion of the Spanish midfielder's transfer over the weekend. And with Mata set to be officially unveiled as a United player at a press conference this afternoon, Moyes admits he is depending on the 25 year-old to make an instant impact with the club six points adrift of Champions League qualification.
"We've lacked a bit of creativity and imagination in the final third of the pitch and I really hope Juan can deliver quickly for us," Moyes said.
"He's a Spanish international and we've signed him up for a long time now. Hopefully we'll get him playing and showing exactly what he can do.
"He's not too far away from (full) fitness. I know he has missed a few games and maybe not started quite as many as he'd have liked, but I'd like to get him involved if I can against Cardiff.
"When you come to Manchester United you are tested a little bit and the players will be the first ones to test him when we get him training because they'll want to see what he can bring. But I'm sure they'll make him aware of what we stand for and what the traditions there are here."
Having completed his move following a medical on Saturday, Mata published a letter to Chelsea's supporters on his website yesterday, thanking them for their support during his two and a half seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Despite citing "complicated situations from a personal point of view, mainly during the last six months" as the central factor in his decision to leave – believed to be his lack of first-team opportunities this season – Mata thanks Mourinho for "making me a stronger player" in his letter.
United's capture of the player has resulted in an uplift of morale at Old Trafford, however, and Moyes admits he was surprised that Chelsea were ultimately prepared to sell.
"He is someone we've been interested in for a long time," Moyes said. "We couldn't say much about it, but he was certainly on our radar for a couple of months in the hope that we could get him. I never felt we would get that opportunity because I wasn't sure that Chelsea would ever sell him to us."
While playing down the prospects of further additions this month, Moyes insists that Mata will be the "first of many" new faces at Old Trafford, with more signings expected in the summer.
"I want to build an exciting team," Moyes said. "I want to win and give the supporters something to shout about because I've not done that often enough.
"I don't think we'll have any more in January. I'm still working on it and looking to do things – we know exactly what we'd like to do and if it changes in the last week, which sometimes it can do, then we'll try.
"I hope it will be the first of some new signings that will arrive, but more likely in the summer. We see this as the start."
Meanwhile, United defender Fabio da Silva and winger Wilfred Zaha are close to agreeing a permanent move to Cardiff after being cleared to undergo medicals.
Cardiff have also signed Stoke forward Kenwyne Jones in part-exchange for Nigerian striker Peter Odemwingie. (© Daily Telegraph, London)