Chelsea's protracted move for David Luiz may have collapsed after Benfica announced they had failed to reach an agreement with the Barclays Premier League champions.
The Blues had on Thursday looked set to complete the reported £26million signing of the 23-year-old after the Portuguese giants went public for the first time about negotiations between the parties.
But Benfica released a statement on their own website, which read: "Negotiations between Benfica and Chelsea FC, with a view to the possible transfer of David Luiz, were concluded on Friday without the parties having reached an agreement."
The clubs are known to have been in and out of talks for a month, ever since Chelsea had a reported £17million bid for the player rejected.
And although Benfica's statement appeared to signal an end to negotiations, Press Association Sport understands the move could yet be resurrected.
Chelsea's confidence at completing the deal was demonstrated on Wednesday when they successfully applied for a work permit for the Brazil international.
However, with less than four days to go until the end of the window, they are running out of time to thrash out their differences with Benfica.
Proof the clubs were still haggling over the finer points of the transfer arrived when the defender played the whole of his current side's Portuguese Cup win at Rio Ave last night.
The dispute reportedly centres on the precise make-up of the deal, with Benfica unwilling to entertain the fee being paid in instalments.
They are also said to be cool on the idea of a player-plus-cash arrangement, with Nemanja Matic - currently on loan at Vitesse Arnhem - having been mentioned as a possible makeweight.