Manchester United target Bruno Fernandes may not leave Sporting Lisbon until the summer, according to his agent Jorge Mendes.
The two clubs were initially understood to be close to agreeing a fee that could rise to £60m, with £43m payable up front and a potential further £17m in add-ons.
Sporting have since increased the overall asking price to £68m, however, and Mendes has raised the possibility that Fernandes may not leave the Portuguese capital until the summer transfer window.
Mendes, who was attending a conference of agents at the Hive Stadium - home of National League side Barnet - told Sky Sports News: "I'm not sure if [it will happen] now or the end of the season.
"If he (Fernandes) will not leave now he will leave for sure in the summer because Sporting, they have spoken already with other clubs and something will happen."
'United want him and Fernandes wants United'
Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth:
What's interesting is what Jorge Mendes said at the end [of his interview]. Almost a warning to Manchester United that they risk missing out on Bruno Fernandes if they don't sign him in this window.
This latest development is another example of how the story is being driven predominantly from the Lisbon end.
There's a feeling at United that Sporting are using the media to force through the Fernandes deal.
What we do know is United want him and Fernandes wants United - and the clubs are in talks.
Sporting's defeat to Braga in the League Cup on Tuesday could accelerate things one way or another.
It means Sporting's next game is a week away. One of the reasons suggested to me why discussions were slow was because of Sporting's insistence on having Fernandes play against Benfica last Friday and again last night.
Those obstacles are no longer there.
However, the issue of agents, agents' fees, transfer fee and add-ons remains.
But as I've been mentioning, this could all be brinkmanship.
Sporting know United want Fernandes. United know Sporting need the money.
This has all the ingredients to go into the final week.
How to follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports
Sky Sports will bring you the very latest news from the January transfer market with the return of three shows.
Start your day with Good Morning Transfers at 9am as our team of reporters bring you the latest news and insight. Transfer Talk then follows at midday delivering analysis of the biggest stories. Then join us at 7pm for the definitive round-up of the day's news with The Transfer Show.
Meanwhile, the Transfer Talk podcast will also be back at the turn of the year with more expert analysis from here and across the continent.
And as well as tuning into Sky Sports News, don't miss a thing with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.