Liverpool and Manchester United are trying to force Bayern Munich to sell Thiago Alcantara for a lower fee by waiting to make an offer late in the transfer window, according to Uli Hoeness.
The future of Spain international Thiago has long been the subject of debate with Premier League champions Liverpool having been touted as the midfielder's most likely suitors.
However, rumours later suggested United were also in the race for the 29-year-old, whose deal with the Bundesliga champions expires in June 2021.
As yet, no agreement has been struck, with Liverpool thought to be put off by an asking price of €30million for a player who would be available on a free transfer in less than a year.
Hoeness suggested Thiago potentially has a deal agreed with one or both teams but that nothing has been thrashed out with Bayern.
The former club president believes some delaying tactics may be in play to try to secure a lower fee and pondered whether Bayern may be better telling Thiago he has to stay put.
"It is a difficult situation. A while ago we agreed on a new four-year contract. Some days later, he said: 'I am looking for a new challenge.' Which is totally okay," Hoeness told Sport1-Doppelpass.
"I think he obviously has an agreement with Liverpool or Manchester United or both of them. Now both clubs are bluffing, no one has contacted Bayern Munich officially.
"From my point of view, that has no style. [They're] waiting until the last week [of the transfer window], when they're going to make a cheap offer.
"In that case, Bayern have to question whether they should go along with that or if they say the player has to stay.
"It's going to be a tense three weeks until October 5. In this moment, there is a style evolving [in the transfer market], even between the big clubs, which I did not know until now."
On Friday, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said "I cannot end speculations" when asked about the Reds' pursuit of Thiago.
Rumours linking him with United have always been less concrete and the Red Devils' signing of Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek suggests such a move may be unlikely.