Manchester United and FC Porto remain some distance apart on their valuations of left-back Alex Telles, but the Portuguese remain confident that a deal can be reached.
The gifted 27-year-old has only nine months left on his contract at Porto, who are keen to cash in on him now rather than allow him to walk away in June for nothing.
Despite a €40 million (£36m) release clause, Porto slapped a bargain €20 million (£18m), take-it-or-leave-it price tag on Telles to move him quickly and offered him to a number of clubs, including United.
However, United’s negotiators Ed Woodward and Matt Judge believe that Porto are desperate enough to settle for even less and have reportedly offered just €13 million (£11.8m) for the left-back.
Porto were so incensed by the offer that they did not even respond, reports Correio de Manhã.
‘Porto want at least 20 million euros for one of the most influential players in the League.
‘It is this impasse that is hampering the entry of reinforcements.’
However, the Dragons perhaps see light at the end of the tunnel because they are pushing ahead with their own signings. They have lined up forward Toni Martinez from Famalicão for around €3 million and have had a €10 million bid rejected by Gremio for left-winger Pepê.
It is possible that they would have sufficient funds for these two transfers anyway without first selling Telles, however, as they have already sold 18-year-old Fabio Silva to Wolves and striker Tiquinho Soares to Chinese side TJ Teda for €40 million and £5.5 million, respectively, in this window.
Another key point relating to this transfer that is rarely mentioned in reports is that the Dragons have already signed a like-for-like replacement for Telles in Nigerian Zaidu Sanusi, whom they bought from Santa Clara for €4 million.
Like most transfers that involve United’s negotiators Ed Woodward and Matt Judge, there is a ‘who blinks first’ scenario with both sides believing they hold all the cards. Porto argue that with 15% of any sale going to intermediary Jorge Mendes and 10% to former club Galatasaray due to a sell-on clause, it is not worth their while to sell Telles for less than that €20 million at this stage, especially as it would mean losing their star player when there is €9.5 million at stake for qualification to the Champions League Round of 16.
Furthermore, there is absolutely no guarantee that United would be able to sign Telles when his contract expires in June as there will be a long line of Europe’s elite clubs, including PSG, Juventus and possibly Real Madrid, also competing to win his services.
This summer’s transfer window has been one of the strangest in living memory. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.