Gary Cahill's move to Chelsea from Bolton is not a foregone conclusion after Andre Villas-Boas revealed the parties were "miles apart" in their negotiations.
Cahill appeared set to become Blues boss Villas-Boas' first January signing this morning after the club agreed a fee with Barclays Premier League rivals Bolton, believed to be in the region of £7million.
But the 26-year-old's transfer hung in the balance this afternoon, with one stumbling block understood to be the player's salary, and Villas-Boas warned Chelsea would turn to other targets if an agreement could not be reached.
"We're still miles apart regarding agreement with the player," he said.
"We will continue to monitor this situation as we continue to monitor the other targets for this position."
Villas-Boas would not go into details about the impasse with Cahill or whether Chelsea had made a take-it-or-leave-it offer - but he was nevertheless hopeful of a positive outcome.
"I think we can sort it out - it should be no problem," he said.
"It's in my chief executive's hands at the moment. It's an ongoing conversation.
"We'll have to wait for the best outcome. The best outcome for us is for the player to join us."
England star Cahill is not short of admirers, with Arsenal seeing a bid rejected for him in the summer and Tottenham also coming close to landing the defender.
Spurs retain an interest and may choose to gazump Chelsea, as they did when signing Steven Pienaar from Everton in January.
Villas-Boas had no doubt about Cahill's qualities, despite Bolton's current struggles.
He said: "I think his technical attributes are immense. His pace is fantastic as well.
"There are weaknesses. But they're also related to the collective organisation of Bolton.
"He's a player who has been playing magnificently well at international level, normally alongside John Terry, and he can add to this squad or any squad in the Premier League. He can make this jump."
Bolton boss Owen Coyle earlier confirmed the club had agreed a fee with Chelsea for Cahill, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
"There has been a fee agreed between the clubs and we have now given Gary's representatives permission to speak to Chelsea," Coyle said ahead of Wanderers' game with Wolves tomorrow.
"That is where we are with it. We obviously have a game tomorrow and I have said to Gary that he has to be focused on giving everything for Bolton Wanderers, because he knows Bolton Wanderers has been terrific for him just as much as Gary has been for us.
"That is why they have representatives - to sort that out - and whatever January 1 brings, it will bring."
If Cahill, who joined Bolton in 2008 from Aston Villa, is to leave in the next few days, Coyle will view it as a blessing that the move is occurring early in the January transfer window, giving him a chance to reinvest the money in new players.
The Trotters are currently 19th in the table and, with Cahill departing, it would seem imperative that the squad - which has been blighted by injuries - is strengthened over the coming weeks if they are to avoid relegation.
Bolton have been linked with New York Red Bulls defender Tim Ream, who recently spent some time training with them, although Coyle would not be drawn today on the specific identity of any targets.
Wanderers have been tipped to sign Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran on loan but Villas-Boas reiterated this afternoon they would not receive preferential treatment should Cahill complete his move in the opposite direction.
Villas-Boas did confirm he was considering farming out McEachran, who is also wanted by Premier League new boys Swansea.