Manchester United's dwindling hopes of signing Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus this season appear to have been shattered after it unfolded that his release clause is in fact pre-dated for next summer.
Reports in Germany suggested that United manager David Moyes was unconcerned by Rues' adamance that he had no desire to leave the Champions League finalists.
However, it is now suggested, the £30m clause appears to be invalid until the summer - too late for the former Everton boss to save his first season with the Red Devils.
Speaking after his side's latest defeat at Old Trafford, to Swansea City in the FA Cup third round, Moyes was downbeat about his chances of doing any major business this month.
"There is an urgency that we want to sign players but are the ones we want available in January?" he said.
"I have said before that I will try to bring players in this month," he continued. "But it is doubtful because of the way the window works.
"There is no point me hyping it up, because the ones we want are probably not going to be available. It is that, rather than us not wanting to do it."
Reus had been unequivocal in his dismissal of the rumours, telling BILD: "I have a contract with Borussia Dortmund and I am happy to be here.
"All I can say about is that I am not thinking about a transfer. I am focused on BVB and anything else is something for the future."