The conventional wisdom is that when Marouane Fellaini's release clause reportedly expires, Manchester United, Arsenal, and any other club who have their eye on him will have missed their opportunity to sign the midfielder.
Both clubs have been linked with the Belgian this summer, but nobody has so far pulled the trigger, with Everton last week confirming no bids.
Fellaini's release clause is said to be £23.5 million, expiring once July 31 comes to a close.
David Moyes and Arsene Wenger will know of it, and be well aware of the current date, with three full days remaining until the chance to sign him at that price expires.
If that is theit intention, then both have left it needlessly late to acquire a midfielder who could have been bagged early enough to join the clubs on their pre-season tours.
So do they actually view the clause as more of an obstacle to sign him, rather than a help?
With less than a month remaining, the clubs will be bearing in mind Fellaini's apparent desire to move on and test himself at Champions League.
There could be a cunning plan, or a gamble at least, on Fellaini becoming more and more agitated behind the scenes at Everton as he awaits news as to whether a big move will come.
How much is the player really worth? Most would agree £23.5 million is a reasonable price for the international midfielder, especially bearing in mind he cost Everton around two-thirds of that price five years ago.
But nobody knows Everton's finances better than David Moyes, and he may adjudge that the club could cash in for less than the release clause as time in the transfer window ticks down .
For Arsene Wenger, a keen haggler to get the right player for the right price, to also be taking this approach is no stretch of the imagination either.
It's a gamble, because given United and Arsenal's failure in the transfer market this summer, Everton could also play tough, and demand even more for the player if he were to be sold.
Messing him around for the goal of saving a small bit of money is not the most ideal situation, but transfer nowadays are rarely concluded without acrimony or some kind of drama. After all, why do it the easy way when there is a more difficult route available?
But with Fellaini's clause running down, the message is clear, United and Arsenal will not have lost their chance of signing the midfielder completely. Indeed it could be the signal for negotiations to begin.
Do you think either side will strike for Fellaini? Either before or after the 31st?
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