Tottenham's operations in the January transfer window suffered a setback on Thursday when Schalke rejected their latest bid for Lewis Holtby (via the Daily Mail).
In the early stages of the month, the two clubs agreed on a deal that would bring Holtby to White Hart Lane this summer.
However, after Spurs midfielder Sandro—who had appeared in every Premier League match beforehand—suffered a season-ending knee injury, the London club began to look into the possibility of bringing Holtby to the club this month.
On Sunday, Schalke rejected Tottenham's first bid, deeming the offer "unacceptable" (via ESPN).
A second attempt has now been thwarted, leaving Tottenham just one week to redouble their efforts and bring Lewis in before the summer.
In an interview with reporters (from Goal.com via Yahoo! Sports), Schalke general manager Horst Heldt spoke very frankly on the topic:
"Tottenham have only marginally improved their offer for Holtby, but it remains unacceptable for us. We will have to wait to see what happens. Feasibility is what it's all about, not wishes."
The rejection is a blow for Spurs, who would benefit greatly from some added depth in the center of the midfield.
Scott Parker's return to the starting lineup in Sunday's match with Manchester United was a boost, especially given the type of shift he was able to produce. However, the England international is just returning from injury.
Further, rumors continue to swirl around a possible loan deal that would send Jake Livermore to ex-Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp at QPR (from the Press Association via the Daily Mail).
Add in Moussa Dembele's injury from earlier in the season and Tom Huddlestone's incessant injury problems and one can see the potential for the situation to become unstable. Given these options, one injury could cause a world of problems.
Given that the worst-case scenario played out for Tottenham's defense last season, when injuries ravaged the back four, it is doubtful that the club will take chances this season.
Expect Spurs to either gear up their January pursuit of Lewis Holtby or—should that deal fall through—look for another deal that would provide a stopgap between now and the summer.