Tottenham Hotspur failed in a deadline day bid to sign their long-time target Leandro Damião, although they were given hope that a deal for the Brazil and Internacional striker could be struck in the summer.
André Villas-Boas, the Tottenham manager, had been clear since the beginning of January that, if he could choose one high-profile addition, it would be Damião, and Daniel Levy, his chairman, told him after Wednesday night's 1-1 draw at Norwich City that he would do everything to get the 23-year-old.
Tottenham have a sporting partnership with Inter – they signed the midfielder Sandro from them in 2010 – and talks took place over Damião, with Levy making an offer. Sources in Brazil put the bid at £13m, which was some way short of what Internacional would demand for a player whose official release clause is £42m and who has third-party ownership issues.
Tottenham could yet do business for Damião in the summer if they were to raise their offer to something in excess of their transfer record, which is the £16.6m that they paid to Dinamo Zagreb for Luka Modric in 2008.
"The offer was well below what we expected," said Internacional's director of football, Marcelo Medeiros. "However, it is possible that the striker could go in the next [transfer] window."
Villas-Boas has found his options restricted up front, as he has played the season so far with only two recognised senior strikers – Emmanuel Adebayor, who is currently at the Africa Cup of Nations with Togo, and Jermain Defoe, who has carried a pelvic injury that required an injection last week. He has wanted a new striker since the closure of last summer's transfer window and admitted on Tuesday that "we have the possibility to have one more."
The club, meanwhile, have confirmed that Heurelho Gomes, the third-choice goalkeeper, has joined Hoffenheim on loan for the remainder of the season.