Cardiff City-Manchester United Preview

The Associated Press

All eyes will be on new signing Juan Mata as Manchester United take on relegation-threatened Cardiff City at Old Trafford Tuesday.

Spain midfielder Mata completed his move to United from Premier League rivals Chelsea over the weekend for a club-record fee of 37.1 million pounds ($61.2 million), much to the delight of Red Devils manager David Moyes.

"Juan is one of the finest playmakers in the game today and it's a real pleasure to have secured his signature." Moyes told "He's been instrumental in Chelsea's recent success, with a notable 28 assists and 32 goals in his last two Premier League seasons.

"I have been impressed with the excitement he has shown to be part of the new Manchester United. I know our fans have admired Juan for some time now - he has always played well against us - and I know they will be delighted to see him in the red of United, starting on Tuesday."

The 25-year-old Mata, who has won 32 senior caps for the Spanish national team, played 135 times for Chelsea after signing from Valencia in 2011.

"I am thrilled to be joining United," Mata said. "I have enjoyed some very happy years at Chelsea but the time has come for a new challenge. United is the perfect place for me and I am excited at the chance I have to be part of the next phase in the club's history.

"Chelsea is a top club and I have many friends there but you cannot turn down the chance to join Manchester United. I look forward to helping the manager and the team be successful in the coming years."

Manchester United (11-4-7) had a disappointing first half of the season under Moyes and are in seventh place, 14 points behind current leaders Arsenal.

Former Manchester United striker and reserves coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who returns to Old Trafford for the first time as Cardiff manager, will be desperate for points after suffering two straight top-flight defeats since replacing the sacked Malky Mackay at the start of the month.

Cardiff (4-6-12) remain bottom of the table after taking just one point from their last six matches.

Solskjaer has already been active in the January transfer window, signing forward Jo Inge Berget and midfielders Magnus Wolff Eikrem and Mats Moller Daehli, who all played under him for Molde in Norway. Reports also suggest there are more new recruits heading down to south Wales.

Cardiff have been linked with Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha and defender Fabio Da Silva, as well as Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones, who appears to be en route in exchange for Peter Odemwingie provided both players pass their physicals.

Solskjaer insists he is looking forward to the challenge of facing his former club.

"We are trying to implement our ideas and we will go out against United and enjoy it," he told Cardiff's official website. "They have signed Juan Mata, one of the top players in European football. He has been fantastic with Chelsea over the last couple of years. United have signed a top, top player there.

"It's what we're here for, to play against the best players to test ourselves. We've recently played against Manchester City with the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Alvaro Negredo… the list goes on. On Tuesday we'll be tested again, which is how my players will improve as professionals, by playing against the best out there."

Kim Bo-Kyung scored a stoppage-time equaliser as Cardiff drew 2-2 with Manchester United at Cardiff City Stadium in this season's reverse fixture on Nov. 24.

Wayne Rooney and Patrice Evra scored for United, while ex-Red Devils striker Fraizer Campbell also tallied for the Bluebirds.

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