Chelsea are widely reported to actually be considering allowing Juan Mata to leave to join Manchester United, with manager Jose Mourinho prepared to permit the transfer.
The fresh revelation last night however stated that Mourinho giving the deal the green light, should both clubs agree a fee, is dependent on one thing.
The Telegraph report: "Mourinho, meanwhile, is prepared to allow Mata to move to United, but the Stamford Bridge manager wants the player personally to tell him that he wants to go to Old Trafford before sanctioning any transfer.
"The final decision on whether to sell Mata is being left to Mourinho and the Portuguese insists that he will only act once the player has approached him."
The complication is suggested interest from Atletico Madrid, who the same report states want to take Mata on loan for the rest of the season and buy in the summer.
This would clearly be more tempting for Chelsea, so it appears Mourinho wants to make sure a transfer to Manchester United is actually what Mata wants, rather than selling him now to a club - when he could wait until the summer to pursue his options.
Many clubs would rather not buy big now because Mata will be cup-tied for the Champions League, but United clearly are in a more desperate situation than most.
It's this which may concern Mata. By signing with United now he is risking not being able to play Champions League football next year, with the club off the pace in seventh in the Premier League.
Atletico meanwhile appear a more certain bet to secure entry to Europe's elite competition next season, in the midst of a three-horse-race for the La Liga title at present, with Spain's top four qualifying.
Then there is the temptation to return to Spain, to give himself an increased profile in the lead-up to the World Cup.
United may well have David de Gea working overtime to convince his former Spain under-21 international colleague to try and convince him Old Trafford is the place to be.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald