London - Chelsea on Thursday have revealed they are set to win the race to sign
Egypt winger Mohamed Salah from Basel in a move likely to hasten the
departure of Juan Mata to Manchester United.
Blues manager Jose
Mourinho has made Salah his top target to replace Spain playmaker Mata,
who is set to join United, and he is on the verge of persuading the
21-year-old to move to London despite strong interest from Liverpool.
have agreed a transfer fee with Salah's Swiss club and the Egyptian,
who has score 17 goals in 27 appearances for his country, will complete
his switch to the Premier League side subject to agreeing personal terms
and passing a medical.
"Chelsea Football Club can confirm an
agreement has been reached with FC Basel for the transfer of their
21-year-old attacking midfielder Mohamed Salah," a statement on the
club's website announced.
"The move is subject to the Egyptian international agreeing personal terms and completing a medical examination."
the deal, reported to be worth £10 million, is wrapped up quickly, Salah
could make his debut in Sunday's FA Cup fourth round tie against Stoke
at Stamford Bridge.
Salah, compared in some quarters to Barcelona
star Lionel Messi, will become Chelsea's third signing of the January
transfer window following the arrivals of Bertrand Traore and Nemanja
Mourinho decided to move for Salah after being impressed by
his performances for Basel in two victories over Chelsea in this
season's Champions League group stages
Salah scored in three of
the Swiss side's four recent meetings with Chelsea -- a goal in each of
this season's Group E Champions League wins and also netting in the
second leg of last term's Europa League semi-final when the Blues were
managed by Rafael Benitez.
His arrival will offset the imminent
departure of Mata, Chelsea's player of the year in his two seasons since
joining from Valencia.
Mata has struggled to cope with Mourinho's
demands for a greater work ethic, with Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian
favoured in the three attacking positions behind a lone centre forward.
has completed just one of the last five games he started and last
featured on New Year's Day at Southampton, where he reacted angrily to
his substitution early in the second half.
United have reportedly
made a club record bid of £37 million for Mata and he is expected to join
the Premier League champions in the next few days.
Basel in 2012 from Egyptian Premier League side El Mokawloon after
impressing the Swiss side during their friendly against Egypt's Under-23