Atletico Madrid learned on Thursday morning that their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to have an ongoing FIFA-imposed transfer ban reduced had failed.
It means the La Liga club are prohibited from registering new players until January 2018 and will be forced to start next season only with the resources they already have available.
The effects of the verdict could be massive, both in terms of players Atletico that were targeting and for other clubs looking to prise talent away from Los Rojiblancos.
While some deals could still happen, here’s a look at six that could be affected.
6. Theo Hernandez to Real Madrid/Barcelona
Atletico will have to rely on returning loan players and emerging B team players to bolster their squad ahead of the new campaign.
The most high profile of returning loanees is the highly rated teenage full-back Theo Hernandez, a rumoured target for both Real Madrid and Barcelona. Real are believed to be willing to trigger the player’s €24m release clause.
5. Lucas Hernandez to Manchester City
Just hours before the CAS verdict was released, reports in Spain claimed that Manchester City had reached a €50m agreement with Atletico to sign French defender Lucas Hernandez, older brother of the aforementioned Theo.
It was clarified at the time that any such deal would be dependent on the outcome of the appeal and so it appears fairly definite that the 21-year-old will be staying put.
4. Kevin Gameiro to Tottenham Hotspur
Just one year after joining Atletico from Sevilla, French forward Kevin Gameiro is believed to be a target for Premier League runners-up Tottenham.
Rumour has it that talks over a potential £26m move to north London started last month, but it remains to be seen if Atleti would be willing to let him leave. Gameiro slightly underwhelmed in 2016/17, yet could prove to be an asset in these challenging times.
3. Diego Costa From Chelsea
Despite looking set for a move to Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian this summer, Diego Costa recently declared that he is not interested in leaving Europe and would only consider former club Atletico if he is no longer wanted at Chelsea.
Atleti were thought to be keen on re-signing their former star. But if Chelsea want to sell and focus their team on a new striker and Costa isn’t prepared to sit out for several months, it’s not clear how this could really develop any further.
2. Alexandre Lacazette From Lyon
Atletico actually formally struck an agreement with Lyon last month to sign Alexandre Lacazette this summer. The Frenchman was one of the hottest goalscorers in Europe in 2016/17 and the proposed deal was seen as quite a coup.
The only way this one can go ahead now is if Lacazette is prepared to sit on the sidelines until January when he can finally be registered – it is a tactic Barcelona used when they signed Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan while banned in 2015.
1. Antoine Griezmann to Manchester United
If the much talked about Antoine Griezmann is to leave this summer to join Manchester United, Atletico will have no immediate way of replacing the loss.
What may cause the Spaniards a problem is if United trigger the €100m release clause, as has long been expected they would have needed to anyway, and essentially cut Atletico out of the negotiations.
In that case, Atleti would have to appeal to Griezmann’s sensibility as a person and hope that he refuses to leave them in the lurch and rejects all offers from Old Trafford.