VICTOR Moses is believed to be edging closer to the exit with Chelsea stepping up their pursuit of the Wigan winger.
The European champions have been courting Moses for most of the off-season, without coming up with the cash required to tempt Latics into doing business.
Chelsea’s opening gambit of around £3m was dismissed out of hand by Dave Whelan, who accused the Londoners of “taking the Mickey”, before telling them to “get real”.
Subsequent improved offers have also been well short of Wigan’s £10m valuation of a player who is out of contract next summer, but would not be eligible for a Bosman free transfer as he is under 24.
After further talks between Whelan and Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay on Tuesday, though, it’s understood a compromise figure could be within reach.
Chelsea want to push the deal through before Sunday’s Community Shield, while Latics are aware the longer this goes on, the bigger the disruption to their preparations for the new campaign.
They are desperate to avoid a repeat of two years ago, when Charles N’Zogbia was left out of the opening game of the season against Blackpool because boss Roberto Martinez felt he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to play due to transfer speculation.
The situation with Moses is further complicated by the fact Latics entertain Chelsea on the opening weekend, but it’s looking increasingly likely the 21-year-old will be in the visitors’ ranks by then.
Latics have been holding out for as close to their full valuation as possible, because Moses’ previous club Crystal Palace hold a sell-on clause, believed to be in the region of 20%.
However, the incoming windfall would still represent a significant profit on the £2.5m Latics shelled out to bring him to the DW in January 2010.
Arsenal youngster Ryo Miyaichi, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Bolton, has been mentioned as a potential replacement, with a season-long loan from the Emirates being mooted.