Tottenham Hotspur have already missed out on one midfield target this summer thanks to sluggish dealings and the count could be set to rise by one imminently.
Yohan Cabaye looked for all the world like a readily available missing ingredient in the White Hart Lane engine room, but despite being linked with the Frenchman a deal remained frustratingly out of reach.
Instead, he was left to fall into the clutches of a Crystal Palace side scarcely able to believe their luck.
Now it seems the Lilywhites are about to be usurped in the hunt for another long-coveted midfield operative, Everton’s James McCarthy.
McCarthy’s presence was vital to the Toffees last season – they won 47% of the games in which he started compared to just 12% of the ones in which he failed to so.
According to the Express, Manchester City, fresh from being snubbed by Aston Villa captain Fabian Delph, are interested in the Republic of Ireland midfielder.
Having started his senior career in the Scottish League before his 16th birthday, the now-24-year-old satisfies the homegrown player regulations that have City in a choke-hold ahead of the 2015/16 campaign.
Spurs are currently 3/1 to sign the flame-haired Roberto Martinez acolyte before the close of the transfer window, with the would-be Sky Blue interlopers 4/1.
Missing out on transfer targets due to seeming sluggishness in the negotiation process is nothing new for Tottenham, in fact it is becoming depressingly familiar.
In recent years the club has failed to get sought-after talents such as Mohamed Salah, Willian and Joao Moutinho over the line.
Each case saw their ponderous attempts to do so usurped by Champions League contestants at the 11th hour and their interest in McCarthy may be going the same way.
Tottenham are 4/1 for a top-four finish in the Premier League in 2015/16.