Chelsea have delayed Juan Mata's move to Manchester United as they attempt to hijack Liverpool's move for Mohamed Salah, according to the Daily Star.
Mata is believed to have travelled to Manchester United's headquarters to have a medical at Bridgewater Hospital ahead of a club record £37m move to Old Trafford.
Manchester United are keen to seal the deal for Mata as soon as possible to help fans forget the agony of the Capital One Cup exit to Sunderland on Wednesday night as well as prepare Mata to make his debut against Cardiff next week.
But Jose Mourinho, ever the trickster, has thrown a curve ball at his counterpart David Moyes.
The Chelsea manager will refuse to allow the Mata deal to go ahead until they can be sure that FC Basel star Salah will seal an £11m move.
Liverpool have been longstanding favourites to sign the Egyptian winger from the Swiss outfit but Chelsea are confident of convincing him to move to Stamford Bridge, with the prospect of a title challenge on offer.
Only a medical stands in the way of Mata's move to the Red Devils after the two parties agreed a four-and-a-half year deal worth £150,000-a-week, but the deal is unlikely to be announced until Salah is within Chelsea's grasp.
Manchester United officials are still confident of sealing the deal for Mata before the week is out.