Eric-Maxime Choupo-Moting is likely to remain a Hamburg player until the end of the season after his transfer to Cologne failed to go through due to a problematic fax machine.
Both clubs and the player had all signed the necessary paperwork for Choupo-Moting to switch Bundesliga clubs, but Cologne's fax machine took an unexpected break 15 minutes before the transfer deadline.
When the fax finally did arrive at the headquarters of the German Football League (DFL), it was already too late.
"The DFL informed us that the documents had not arrived on time and the transfer could not go through,'' Cologne general manager Claus Horstmann told Express. "There position is that they can do nothing about technical problems, but so can't we.
"We have lodged a complaint against the decision. We wanted the player, Hamburg wanted to sell him and the player wanted to come to us. Our hope of still convincing the DFL is low.''
Chupo-Moting could have moved to West Brom, but his father said the player had chosen Cologne's offer over theirs.
"West Brom and Cologne both tried hard to get Eric-Maxime,'' said Just Choupo-Moting. "At 1630, the English club improved their offer. Maybe fate wanted it for him to remain in Hamburg.''