Chelsea have accepted a £37million bid for Juan Mata and immediately released the Spanish international to join Manchester United to complete the most dramatic deal of the transfer window.
Mata will undergo a medical on Thursday at United before completing the move that will see him more than double his £70,000-a-week Chelsea salary at Old Trafford.
Chelsea have been braced for a bid since Monday for Mata and finally received the offer triggering their acceptance and the release of the player.
The Premier League club are not expecting the 25-year-old to return to them and have already made plans for his replacements. A medical has been booked in for Thursday for Mata and personal terms accepted.
United chose a slightly unusual route to lodge their bid, using intermediaries, but Chelsea have accepted the offer as an official one and manager Jose Mourinho has sanctioned the move.
Mata’s father, Juan senior, and his representatives flew in from Spain on Wednesday morning after it became apparent an offer would finally be made.
They are keen for Mata to make the move after he fell out of favour under Mourinho which has placed his chances of playing for Spain in this summer’s World Cup Finals under threat.
Contrary to claims Mata, Chelsea player of the year for the past two seasons, has not had to ask to leave with Mourinho accepting that the scale of United’s offer is too big to refuse given his priorities in strengthening his team lie elsewhere. The bid is at a level that it will have been deemed impossible to turn down by the Chelsea board.
Mourinho’s only stipulation was to make the move happening quickly so he could possibly re-invest ahead of the window closing on Jan 31. There were indications on Wednesday night that Chelsea might attempt to hijack Liverpool’s £7million move for the Basle winger Mohamed Salah.
Chelsea’s greater priority remains the acquisition of a striker but despite wanting to sign Wayne Rooney United will not enter into negotiations.
While United continued to publicly deny having submitted an offer for Mata, Chelsea were privately confirming that a bid had been lodged and accepted.
Negotiations between the two clubs and Mata’s representatives progressed well during Wednesday and the former Valencia midfielder, who signed for £23.5million two years ago, is set to surpass Dimitar Berbatov as United’s record signing on Thursday, subject to a successful medical.
Chelsea were also privately confirming that they did not expect Mata to return to the club and that he had agreed terms to go.