The Londoners are preparing a 12 million euro move for the Basel winger after finalizing Mata's switch to Old Trafford, with the Spaniard scheduled for a medical Thursday.Chelsea is targeting Basel winger Mohamed Salah after agreeing to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United for 45 million euros, Goal UK reports.
Mata is scheduled to undergo a United medical on Thursday as he puts the finishing touches to his club-record transfer to Old Trafford. There was a breakthrough in talks between Chelsea and United on Wednesday, with the London club giving the 25-year-old permission to miss first-team training in the morning.
Barring any late hiccups, Mata is expected to make his debut for David Moyes’ team in a Premier League clash against Cardiff City on Tuesday, and Chelsea is set to make an immediate attempt to reshape its squad by trying to acquire Salah from Swiss champion Basel.
The 21-year-old Egyptian made a series of eye-catching appearances in the Champions League before Christmas, scoring the equalizer for Basel in a 2-1 win at Chelsea in the group stage and repeating the feat in the 1-0 win at St. Jakob Park.
The Londoners are prepared to reinvest around 12 million euros, a quarter of the Mata money, in Salah although Basel values the wide player at closer to 18 million euros. Chelsea's strong interest could derail Liverpool's bid to sign the Egyptian this month.
Chelsea will make its move after negotiating a big profit on Mata, who cost 28.7 million euros when he signed from Valencia in 2011.
Mata told Chelsea he wanted to move to Old Trafford to play regular first-team soccer at a top club and boost his chances of playing for Spain at next summer’s World Cup. He is believed to have been offered a significant increase on his 70,000-pound-a-week salary.
The Spaniard has been named Chelsea's player of the year in the last two seasons but Jose Mourinho said earlier this month that the "door is open" should Mata seek a transfer away from Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window. Mourinho has cited Mata's lack of defensive work as the main reason behind the Spain international's frequent omission, with Oscar preferred in the No. 10 role at Stamford Bridge.
With United no longer considered a direct rival — the champions are currently seventh in the Premier League table, 14 points behind leader Arsenal — Chelsea decided to sanction his sale.