The Guardian says Peter Kenyon, Chelsea's chief executive, met Sevilla's director-general Jose Maria Cruz at the Gran Fenix hotel in Madrid to finalise a package believed to be worth £23m, with the bulk of the money to be paid up front. Cruz left the talks with the impression that agreement had been reached and the story filtered out to Spanish news outlets.

Kenyon merely needed the seal of approval from Abramovich but to his dismay the club owner informed him that he was not prepared to pay such a sum for a full-back, no matter how gifted. He ordered Kenyon to renegotiate.

Unsurprisingly this has proved problematic, with Sevilla not prepared to accept a revised offer for fear of losing face