Chelsea are stalling on making a decision on whether to accept Bayern Munich's £35 million ($44.7m) offer for Callum Hudson-Odoi, with the Blues hopeful an increase in game time will convince the teenager to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Goal understands that, despite an increase in minutes for the Under-17 World Cup winner, it could be a case of too little, too late for Chelsea as they fight a losing battle in terms of securing Hudson-Odoi's long-term future.
The 18-year-old had not played a minute of Premier League football this season prior to Bayern's first approach in December, with just 215 minutes spent on the pitch in total despite an encouraging pre-season.
Since then, however, he has tasted 220 minutes of action, including two league appearances, and would likely be used more frequently in the second half of the season with Maurizio Sarri's side still fighting on four fronts.
Bayern's current offer includes the promise of the No.10 shirt that will be vacated by Arjen Robben this summer, and with Jadon Sancho impressing for Borussia Dortmund this season, it is understood Hudson-Odoi is tempted by the move to Germany.
A five-year deal that Chelsea offered at the start of the season remains on the table, but with Hudson-Odoi's current contract set to expire in the summer of 2020, the Blues face a quandary given they know it is unlikely they will earn more than the money currently on offer for the forward if he is sold in future transfer windows.
Bayern, for example, would not be willing to offer the same amount come the summer transfer window, though they will remain interested in a player seen as pivotal in the necessary rebuilding job at the Allianz Arena under Niko Kovac.
Chelsea's supporters did their best to convince Hudson-Odoi to remain in west London with a rendition of 'Hudson-Odoi, we want you to stay' during his substitute appearance against Newcastle on Saturday while Sarri himself has hinted that the improvements he has seen in the youngster will allow him more opportunities in the months to come.
“I think that Hudson-Odoi is improving. In one or two months he will be at the same level as the other players," Sarri said following the 2-1 win over the Magpies, though it remains to be seen whether the former Napoli boss will be true to his word.
Nevertheless, the current situation leaves Chelsea with something of a headache when it comes to their wide options.
Hudson-Odoi is one of four wingers on the Blues roster whose current contract only runs through to 2020, with the futures of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro still up in the air with 18 months left on their deals.
Christian Pulisic's arrival in the summer following his £58m ($73m) move from Borussia Dortmund will help, but being able to keep hold of Hudson-Odoi would ease fears that Sarri will be short in a key area.