Mata of fact - Mixed fortunes for Man United's previous record transfers
Published 22/01/2014 | 13:02
If Juan Mata is to move to Old Trafford, he will break the current record transfer of Dimitar Berbatov from Spurs six years ago.
With the Spaniard unhappy at his limited opportunities at Stamford Bridge and United badly in need of a creative spark, the move would make footballing sense.
According to various reports, the Red Devils have been told that a bid of £37 million would be accepted by the Chelsea board, easily surpassing the fee paid to Tottenham for the services of Berbatov back in 2008.
Here are United’s most expensive signings and should Mata sign on the dotted line, he will hope to fall into the Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney category rather than Berbatov and Juan Veron.
Dimitar Berbatov - £30.75 million
Signed at the very close of the August transfer window in 2008, the skilful Bulgarian never quite lived up to the billing and his omission from the match day squad for the 2010 Champion league Final was real low, falling below Michael Owen in the pecking order.
Scored 56 goals in 149 appearances for United and is the only non-Englishman to hit five goals in a Premier League game, but for all his sublime skill, subtlety and sizzling finishes, failed to live up to the billing. Fortunately for sub-editors everywhere his surname rhymed with flop.
Rio Ferdinand - £29.1
Sixteen months after breaking the British transfer record by joining Leeds for £18 million in November 2000, Rio Ferdinand joined the Red Devils and would become the lynchpin of the defence for more than a decade.
Has amassed more than 400 appearances for United and while there were many question marks over lapses of concentration in the early parts of his career, would go on to form one of the strongest centre-half partnerships in the league with Nemanja Vidic.
Has seen little game time this season in what looks likely to be his last campaign in a red jersey.
Juan Sebastian Veron - £28.1 million
In the summer of 2001, United supporters were giddy with excitement when the Argentinean was purchased for big bucks as Alex Ferguson sought to tinker with his traditional 4-4-2 in order to keep pace in Europe.
Not only did Veron struggle in his new surroundings, his position in the team had an adverse effect on Paul Scholes. Many observers felt the slower paced Italian league offered him a better environment in which to display his talents.
While £15 million was recouped when he signed for Chelsea, he left without failing to put his stamp on English football despite a glittering career for Argentina and also in Serie A.
Marouane Fellaini - £27.5 million
While it is early days in his career, the Belgian will have his work cut out to justify his hefty price tag in a team that appears to be in a downward spiral.
Signed when other transfer targets fell through, it is easy to forget the impact he had for Everton when his physical presence caused teams all kinds of problems with deep runs from midfield and was a serious threat in the opposition's box.
Arguably lacks the guile in midfield that David Moyes badly requires, but has only played eleven games since his Everton switch.
Wayne Rooney - £27 million
Hard to imagine that this summer will mark ten years since he left Everton, but time flies when you score goals, win a hatful of medals, hand in transfer requests and become a mainstay of a team over a sustained period.
Another three goals will move him into third place in the club’s all-time record goal scoring chart, though speculation is increasing that he may not stick around long enough to surpass Bobby Charlton’s milestone.
Whether he leaves the club, or as has been the case in the past and signs on after a change of mind, there is little doubt he has been worth every penny he cost the club back in 2004.