Despite the claim last Saturday that Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be a Liverpool player within seventy-two hours, three days came and went with no confirmation from the myriad of people involved in the deal that the Armenian was indeed on his way for his first meeting with the illustrious Dr Iqbal.
That is, sadly, the clearest part of what's currently going on.
Alexey Yaroshevsky, the Russia Today scribe who has thus far provided "inside" info from a Shaktar source, provided a brief update as to the status — or lack thereof — of Mkhitaryan's transfer.
My source told me on Friday the price was agreed and move would be formalized in 3 days. Obviously, smth went wrong, trying to find out what— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@YaroLFC) July 3, 2013
Once again - we have to be patient. This is a very complicated deal, it seems, but im still sure that Mkhitaryan will be at Anfield— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@YaroLFC) July 3, 2013
The one thing my source still insists on - and that hasnt changed - that Henrikh is moving to LFC, not Dortmund or Spurs— Alexey Yaroshevsky (@YaroLFC) July 3, 2013
So if we trust the not-at-all sketchy Shaktar source, Mkhitaryan is still coming; it's just unclear what is causing the delay. The player is MIA from Shaktar's pre-season training camp, earning himself a sizeable fine and effectively putting himself on strike while the terms of the deal are allegedly being sorted out.
Meanwhile, Shaktar executive claim Sergei Palkin claims that Liverpool have not yet made a formal offer, but also clarified that the details of the player's contract that affect what the ultimate transfer fee paid might be.
"Mkhitaryan doesn't have a release clause in his contract," Palkin said, "but it does spell out the penalties for unilateral termination of the contract, which is equal to $30m (£19.8m).
"If Mkhitaryan wants to terminate the contract, he must pay Shakhtar $30m and go to a club that he likes. If we go in a civilized manner and sell the player, and in doing so he does not break the contract, the value we place on him is 30million Euros (£25.5m)."
No release clause but a self-induced contract termination clause instead. Assuming that it's unlikely that Mkhitaryan actually has $30 million lying around to buy out his own contract, Shaktar's €30m valuation of the player is still a bit north of the €23m they confirm Dortmund have already officially offered.
Of course, whether or not Liverpool or anyone else even need to be discussing with Shaktar at all is still unclear. Mkhitaryan's complicated situation regarding who owns his rights is probably the most likely reason for the delay past the original 72 hours, but the other Russian Twitter phenom currently lighting up this story suggests Shaktar need not be involved at all.
Of course. Get out your bingo cards, folks, this is going to be a long one.