Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan has confirmed the club will not be signing Adem Ljajic due to work permit complications.
The champions were due to bring in the Partizan Belgrade midfielder in January as part of a £16.5million deal that also saw Zoran Tosic arrive nearly 12 months ago.
It was suggested by the Serbian outfit that the reason for United's sudden change of heart was down to a lack of funds with the club heavily in debt due to the takeover of Malcolm Glazer in 2005.
With the club yet to delve fully into the £80million raised by the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer, many expected the deal for the 18-year-old Serbian to go through but Phelan revealed that work permit problems have scuppered the deal.
"The situation with Adem was we went down the road of trying to obtain a work permit," he said.
"We made a tentative approach to getting him a work permit and what we got back from the home office or the people you deal with was that we couldn't get that through in time for when we had to make a decision on Adem in January.
"The point was then, do you lay out for only Adem knowing there is a possibility that you could or couldn't get a work permit?
"So we decided that we wouldn't."