Josh Brillante will likely stay at Sydney FC for the rest of the A-League season after his move to K-League side Pohang Steelers was called off.
The Covert Agent can reveal the 25-year-old had his bags packed for Korea trip but the transfer was never close to completion.
It's understood the Sky Blues were adamant they would only release Brillante for an undisclosed transfer fee - with the midfielder under contract until the end of the current campaign.
However, Pohang made it clear to Brillante's management that there was no budget available to pay a transfer fee, which was information not communicated with Sydney FC or the player.
Brillante was so sure the move was imminent that he said farewell to his Sky Blues teammates only a few days ago, having been frozen out of the first team since the transfer rumour became public on March 13 prior to the Asian Champions League match against Kawasaki Frontale.
Any move to the K-League would need to be completed prior to the Korean transfer window slamming shut on April 1.
The news is a huge boost for the Sydney FC's silverware hopes, with Steve Corica's side hoping to hold off Melbourne Victory and finish second to set up a crack at their second championship in three seasons.
Pohang have also been linked with moves for Newcastle Jets midfielder Steven Ugarkovic and Melbourne City playmaker Luke Brattan.