Owen Hargreaves is in danger of missing out on his dream move to Manchester United after Germany midfielder Sebastian Deisler rocked Bayern Munich by announcing his retirement, at just 27.
Shocked Bayern bosses reacted to Deisler's decision by ruling out any prospect of a move for Hargreaves this month and indicating that he may not be allowed to leave in the summer.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was convinced the England midfielder was bound for Old Trafford after Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer admitted that a bid of around £15million would be too good to turn down.
But Hargreaves may now be kept to the new long-term contract he signed earlier this season after Deisler, beset by injury and psychological problems in recent years, returned from a training camp in Dubai and declared he was quitting.
Bayern's midfield resources have been depleted by the loss of Deisler and Bosnian Hasan Salihamidzic, who will join Juventus on a four-year deal at the end of the season.
And if Hargreaves thought it couldn't get any worse, here is some praise from Sven Goran Eriksson:
"I always believed he would be a great player and I am very happy for him because now all the biggest clubs in Europe want him. Football can be crazy with transfer prices. But if anyone is worth £20m, then he is. He's that good and he will get better and better and better so his value could rise — he's still quite young. People criticised him but I always believed in him."