A 'gentleman's agreement' between Manchester United and Benfica for the signature of Ezequiel Garay has long been touted about by the Portuguese and subsequently British press.
Rumours the defender has even been in Manchester looking for a house have also sprung up, and it was thought that the defender could even have been unveiled a week ago at David Moyes' first press conference.
It now looks as though the deal is off, or at least has come across a substantial hitch, over the price.
The news is reported by the publication which have been pushing the deal from day one, Portuguese newspaper Record.
Their report states: "There is a gentlemen's agreement between Benfica and Manchester United for the transfer to take effect this summer but so far the two clubs have not reached full agreement.
"This is because the Red Devils (have) not reached 20 million Euros, the termination clause of the Argentine.
"Now this distance between the two parties have already made business impossible and the truth is that Garay does not reject the scenario to remain (at) the (Stadium of) Light one more season, even though he has been in Manchester looking for a home."
The word 'impossible' is quite, well, impossible, to interpret another way. It appears the deal is off if United do not up their bid for the former Real Madrid man.
Benfica do not need to sell, and Garay has no on-field problems at the side where he has enjoyed the best spell of his career, and if United do not stump up the cash then he will remain.
The 26-year-old has been seen as a ready-made replacement for Nemanja Vidic if David Moyes wants to move the Serbian on, but at present there appears no movement on that front despite the captain's injury. In fact it has even been rumoured Vidic will be offered a one-year extension on his contract which expires next summer.
United have been linked with Davide Astori of Cagliari, but if they are not desperate for quality centre-backs by any stretch, and if a deal for Garay does fall through then they might just leave the central defensive unit as it is.
The club's search for new additions goes on...
The Express claims United have reached an agreement for Garay. But on closer inspection it is not what it seems:
Their source is Italian website Tuttomercato... whose source in turn is Record.
Lost in translation? Back to square one it seems to us.
Should United meet the €20 million asking price? Or leave Garay be...?
image: © jansolo09