Newcastle United's contract wrangle with Matty Longstaff has dragged on into the Premier League's winter break.
The 19-year-old has been told by Steve Bruce he is big part of the future at St James' Park - along with his older brother Sean - but the club and the player's representatives remain deadlocked.
United's players will not return to the training ground until Tuesday and everybody at the club has taken a step back from another emotionally-charged season over the past few days.
Before the club's training ground was shut down for the winter break, Bruce said: "Look, we always want to keep your best young players, especially if they’re Geordies, of course.
"Let’s hope they both get tied up."
United's central midfield area though remains unclear going into the next few months with Ki leaving on a free transfer and attempts to sign 20-year-old Boubakary Soumare for a £35million fee from Lille suggesting that Newcastle are looking beyond the duration of Longstaff's contract.
Assuming Soumare, wanted by other Premier League clubs, would have picked up a competitive wage (around £50,000 per week) to leave Lille, it is believed that Matty Longstaff would have signed a deal already had he been offered even half as much.
Teenager Longstaff has made 12 appearances this term and scored three times, most significantly on his Premier League debut against Manchester United back in October in a moment that propelled him to the attentions of football observers in Europe.
Newcastle had hoped that Longstaff junior would sign a contract extension in December, but the fact he is free to leave the club for a small compensation fee, around £400,000, has piqued the interest of clubs in Italy, Germany and Spain.
Both Inter Milan and AC Milan were credited with interest but only sources at the Nerazzurri have stood things up so far to Chronicle Live and even then it was confirmed as nothing more than observation of the contract situation unravelling quickly on Tyneside.
European clubs can now freely discuss contract terms with Longstaff in the knowledge that they can splash out extra wages as he is effectively a free transfer in June.
Losing Longstaff would result in criticism and big questions from Toon supporters given the club have spoken of their desire to produce their own players down the years.
Both brothers spur each other on and epitomise the dreams of most Geordie fans, Alan Shearer telling the Chronicle the day after Matty's winner against Man United: "Does it get bet much better than that? It doesn't believe me."
Contract talks with Longstaff's older brother Sean were parked until the summer after the club could not agree an extension to his current deal.
The 22-year-old has been linked with Manchester United in the last two windows.
But his situation is not as pressing for the club as he is tied down until 2022.
But everybody has been talking about the Longstaff brothers this season from Match of the Day pundits to supporters and even former Oasis front man Liam Gallagher who told thousands of gig goers at the end of last year he was a huge fan of the two lads from North Shields!
After scoring at Oxford, and having a hand in the two other goals, Sean Longstaff said: "At times I feel like I’ve done all right, in some games, but it’s been the consistency, really, that’s killed me
"Maybe results in the games that have made it look a bit worse than maybe it has been
"I’m never going to really get too up and down about it.
"I’m a young lad, I’m still learning my trade."