West Brom face an anxious wait over the £2m signing of Cristian Gamboa after being told the Costa Rica defender must go to a work permit hearing.
The 24-year-old will face a Football Association panel in the next week to discover whether his dream move to the Premier League can go ahead.
Gamboa does not qualify for an automatic permit to play in England because he has not figured in 75 per cent of his country's competitive matches within the last two years.
The Baggies had hoped the Home Office would grant the full-back a work permit as he was only fractionally outside the threshold. But they have now been told Gamboa must attend a formal hearing and, although the club remain confident they have a strong case, the transfer is now in some doubt.
The news will come as a shock to head coach Alan Irvine, who was the main champion of the transfer behind the scenes and had believed a deal was done to land the World Cup star.
However, the Baggies must now make their case to FA officials, although they still believe they will be able to complete the deal as Gamboa played all five of his country's World Cup matches.
A £2m fee has been agreed with Norwegian club Rosenborg and Gamboa has passed a medical and agreed personal terms on his switch to The Hawthorns. He is now just awaiting the go-ahead from the Home Office, who make the final decision on work permits based on guidance from an FA panel.
The date for the hearing has not been fixed but it appears unlikely he will figure in Albion's pre-season friendly at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.