The future of Carlos Tevez has been thrown into more confusion after talks between AC Milan and Manchester City officials broke up without reaching agreement just hours after Inter Milan withdrew from the race to sign the South American.
Tevez is still in Argentina, having effectively concluded he has no future at City since the furore over his non-appearance during that infamous Champions League game against Bayern Munich in September. Inter and Paris St Germain had both expressed an interest in signing Tevez but AC Milan have been front-runners for some considerable time.
It seemed a matter of when rather than if a deal would eventually be done, although hopes of a speedy resolution were dashed when City refused to yield from their present position of being unwilling to entertain any kind of loan for the 27-year-old.
However, with further negotiations planned for Thursday afternoon in London, when asked if Tevez will join AC Milan, Inter president Massimo Moratti said on the club's official website, www.inter.it: "I believe so. That's football."
But within hours, the London talks had ended amid reports that a deal between Milan and City was off.
As Blues officials have strongly countered, it was impossible for a deal to be off because there was never actually one in place to start with. Indeed, City have been left bewildered by the whole process which, as far as they can see, is fairly straightforward.
With no loan moves being entertained, a stance unlikely to change at present, the club will happily talk to any suitor willing to offer what they view as a fair market value for one of the world's best forwards.
Evidently, Tevez's present status has not done much for his valuation. However, as he is tied to a contract that does not expire until 2014, City believe they have plenty of power, even if efforts to get Tevez back to Manchester will not be increased until the transfer window has closed.
Despite Thursday's developments, it would be a major surprise if Tevez was still a City player at that point.
As City found out during their failed attempts to sign Brazilian superstar Kaka from the Serie A giants three years ago, Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani is an astute footballing politician. Having placed such store by trying to attract Tevez to the club, Galliani is unlikely to just give up when there is so much time left to do a deal.