Andre Villas-Boas travelled to Georgia on Wednesday, believing he had tied up a five-year, £30 million deal for Anzhi Makhachkala star Willian before he left.
Sky Sports reported on Thursday afternoon that a medical had been passed and the deal seemed a formality, with the Brazilian midfielder holed up in a London hotel while the fine detail was concluded with his agent.
But just as Spurs finished battering Dinamo Tbilisi 5-0 in their UEFA Europa League qualifier, Sky Sports reported Chelsea were looking to seal a deal with Willian and that the two parties were in "advanced talks."
Charting Willian's progress in leaving Anzhi this summer has been difficult—the Blues are the third Premier League club to show interest after Liverpool failed to reach an agreement with the player.
But whereas Spurs need to replace Bale and Liverpool are seeking to build around Philippe Coutinho, Chelsea's interest makes decidedly less sense.
At the time it would have been a smart deal, but right now Chelsea are simply overloaded with attacking midfielders and would struggle to find room for Willian in their squad.
He's a prodigious talent, no question, but he's not the sort of can't-miss prospect that Thiago Alcantara or Erik Lamela represent.
Lucas Piazon and Gael Kakuta are out on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, Marko Martin is spending the season with Sevilla and Wayne Rooney, if signed, is expected to split time between the No. 10 slot and the centre-forward role.
It's difficult to understand what part of that spells out "we need another attacking midfielder," and Willian in particular would compete directly with Hazard and Schurrle for a spot on the flanks.
Should the move pan out, it would almost certainly seal Moses' exit and make things rather difficult for De Bruyne once again. After all, Mourinho signed Schurrle, favours Oscar and loves Hazard.
Depth is one thing and the ability to fight on multiple fronts is incredibly important, but would £30 million Willian not be going a little far?
The deal was suitable once, but it no longer benefits the squad: Chelsea signing Willian would be an inexplicable move at this stage.