Wigan owner Dave Whelan has warned Chelsea that the price for Victor Moses might go up if he has a good game against the Blues in their Premier League opener on Sunday.
By a quirk of the fixture list Wigan host Chelsea who have coveted the club's best young player all summer, without matching Whelan's asking price which is close to £10 million
A deal of £8 million, with some performance related add ons, would have clinched a deal but Chelsea have yet to go up to that point, and might live to regret that decision with Moses playing against them on Sunday.
The Wigan chairman has rejected a series of summer long bids from Stamford Bridge for Moses, and told ESPN on Friday: "Roberto [Martinez] and I both think that they have left it to see how Victor does against them on Sunday.
"Victor is up against the best left-back in the Premier League [Ashley Cole] and if he takes him on and plays well, then we shall have to weigh things up as much as I have no doubt Chelsea will weigh things up.
"It is not one-sided you know, Chelsea have been chasing him all summer but not come up with an acceptable bid, but if he comes up with a goal or two on Sunday who's to say his value won't go up by a couple of million!"
Whelan doubts whether Chelsea think the best policy is to wait to take Moses in a year though and added: "His contract is up but he is not a free transfer, as we shall be entitled to compensation and the tribunal would be aware of what has been offered for him."
Later there was laughter around the Chelsea press conference in Cobham as Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo refused to be drawn on his team's transfer policy but was still asked about what exact threat Moses offers.
"He is a player of Wigan football club so I don't want to give too much away about other players," he said. "He's a young talented guy... that plays for Wigan. We know his ability... that's a question for Roberto Martinez, whether he's going to play [on Sunday] or not."
Di Matteo did concede, however, that Chelsea won't be held to ransom for anyone, claiming: "We are not going to pay over the top. We pay what we think is the real value for the player."