Juan Mata: New Man Utd signing keen to link up with Rooney

Manchester United's record signing Juan Mata cannot wait to link up with new team-mate Wayne Rooney.

It has been reported that Mata's £37.1m move from Chelsea could lead to a potential summer switch for Rooney in the opposite direction.

But Rooney, 28, is now in talks with United to extend his contract.

Spain forward Mata, 25, said: "For me, he's one of the best players in the history of this country. He's an unbelievable player."

Mata at Chelsea

Juan Mata

2011-12: 54 appearances, 12 goals, Champions League winner, FA Cup winner

2012-13: 64 appearances, 20 goals, Europa League winner

2013-14: 17 appearances, 1 goal

(Stats are for all competitions)

Mata, who has signed a contract understood to run until summer 2018, could line up alongside Rooney for Tuesday's Premier League game at home to Cardiff City.

"He's a striker who can score, assist and come into midfield to take the ball," added Mata of the England international.

"I will try to connect with him as much as possible and find the gaps in rival defences. I think that's my best style of play, to get into positions where I can assist the strikers."

Mata, who will wear the number eight shirt, also said United's never-say-die attitude meant they could still retain their league title.

"What I like most about this club is the character," said Mata, twice Chelsea's player of the year.

"I think if another club were in this position in the league, it would be very difficult to come back and take first position, but this club can do it.

"This is the real image I have from Manchester United, always fighting to win titles, always coming back from difficult moments."

Analysis

"It was hard not to be impressed by Juan Mata at Manchester United's Carrington training ground. The Spaniard swerved around every awkward question and looked genuinely delighted to be a United player, while always remaining complimentary and respectful about his former employees.

"He was particularly impressed by United's decision to fly him up from London by helicopter for his medical. David Moyes couldn't keep the smile off his face throughout. He is clearly delighted to have got his man."

The former Valencia player scored 32 goals for the Blues and made more than 130 appearances but had failed to command a regular starting place under Jose Mourinho, who returned to Chelsea last summer for a second spell as manager.

Mata, capped 32 times by World and European champions Spain, admitted moving to Old Trafford was "really important" to his hopes of making his country's World Cup squad.

United boss David Moyes said he was surprised the club was able to sign a player of Mata's calibre during the January transfer window.

"I am thrilled," said Moyes, whose team are seventh in the Premier League, 14 points adrift of leaders Arsenal. "I got wind a month or two ago it could be possible, but I never thought we could pull it off.

"When we got the sniff there was a chance Juan could be available we went after it right away. There will be more players like Juan [joining United] in the future. I've no doubts about that."