Despite being offered what could quite conceivably be one of the deals of the summer, Chelsea are keeping Atletico Madrid in suspense.
Perhaps that’s just part of being one of the shrewdest transfer hardball players in the Premier League.
Los Colchoneros have offered the Stamford Bridge club an alluring way to cash in on the expensive yet moderate Filipe Luis, mooting Toby Alderweireld as a swapsie.
The Blues paid the Madrid outfit £15.8m for the Brazilian last summer, but he has failed to supplant moonlighting right back Cesar Azpilicueta on the left side of defence.
Alderweireld reminded everyone exactly why Atleti bought him from Ajax at the beginning of their title-winning campaign on loan at Southampton this season.
He became a mainstay of the Saints side which finished with the division’s second-best defensive record, either as a centre-half, or in defensive midfield and is a capable full-back to boot.
Yet the Blues are keeping the Spaniards waiting, with Raphael Varane and Everton’s John Stones thought to rank above the Belgian on Jose Mourinho’s shopping list.
Such commanding transfer poker play from the west London outfit is nothing new, with the Blues teaching fellow super-rich outfits Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City a lesson in how to cough up big fees within the ‘strictures’ of financial fair play.
This is side that raked in upwards of £40m for David Luiz, while tapping Everton for an eye-watering £28m for Romelu Lukaku in the same transfer window.
Wolfsburg too have fallen prey to their expertise in flogging squad players, aiding the Stamford Bridge side in making a handsome £13m profit on Kevin de Bruyne and Andre Schurrle, despite neither approaching first-team fixture status during their tenure.
Chelsea are 13/10 to emulate their achievements in Mourinho’s first term of office in winning consecutive Premier League titles in 2015/16.