Tottenham look set to miss out on Wilson Palacios if they do not alter their planned payment structure.
Spurs have asked for four years in which to stagger the £14million price tag placed on the midfielder by Wigan.
However, the Latics are keen to get the fee up front, with the money helping to fund their own endeavours during the January transfer window.
Steve Bruce admits the Honduran international's future remains unclear at present, and has taken a swipe at the policies adopted by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
"Anyone who has watched Wilson for the last six months will know what they are getting," said the Wigan boss in the Daily Star.
"The size of the fee, I believe, has been agreed.
"But in terms of the payment, Mr Levy wants it over something like 55 years!"
Spurs must also fend off interest from Manchester City if they are to land Palacios, with Blues manager Mark Hughes confirming his interest in the talented 24-year-old after seeing his side beat Wigan 1-0 on Saturday.
He does, however, remain unsure as to City's chances of scuppering Spurs' agreement.
"I'm not sure how it's progressed," he said.