Time appears to be running short for Antonio Conte, who has changed his public position in the six weeks or so since taking charge at Chelsea, over whether or not signings are required.
The Italian is now clear that his Chelsea need to sign players: and that defensive options are at the top of the list.
But this transfer window has been dogged by problems: with Chelsea refusing to rise to some of the more inflated prices in this apparently out-of-control market, and a lack of Champions League football turning-off some notable targets.
Any deal for Kaloidou Koulibaly, a name which has consistently cropped up throughout the summer, will require either Napoli to shift in their valuation of the defender, or Chelsea to seriously increase what they are willing to pay.
Claims of a £60m bid having been turned down are not true, but that is the sum beyond which the Italians are understood to be willing to listen.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have little interest in going beyond £40m – or, at least, that appears to be their bargaining position for now.
These things are often very much a poker game, though the club appears to be heeding the cautionary tale of deadline day five and a half years ago, when a now infamous amount of money was lavished on Fernando Torres and David Luiz.
The switch in focus to Torino's Nikola Maksimovic, for a reported £25m, was an interesting development this week: with Blues apparently using it to send a barbed message to Koulibaly's employers.
Napoli themselves had shown interest in the Serb, and the sub-text appeared to be: “OK, guys, if you won't play ball, then we'll cut-off your supply chain.”
A ploy as Russian as borscht itself.
The Blues' boss knows his former hunting ground well, and a suggested move for AC Milan defender Alessio Romagnoli, for £30m, appeared to have Conte's fingerprints all over it.
But, beyond all of this, one rumour that will set alarm bells ringing in many Chelsea circles is the touted interest in Paris Saint-Germain man Marquinhos.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the player, who has indeed shown his qualities against Chelsea in the past; but the pursuit of the Brazilian appears to be where the club ends up when they reach the realms of desperation.
On August deadline day last year, after the penny dropped that Everton's 'not at any price' tag on John Stones was not a matter of bluff (for then), two panicked bids were submitted for Marquinhos – first for £26m, then for £40m.
Both were refused.
That window, you will recall, concluded with the purchase of Papy Djilobodji and Michael Hector, and is largely considered to be one of the main reasons why Chelsea ended up in this mess in the first place.
One other vital buy, before the clock strikes 11.30pm on Wednesday, is a goalkeeper.
Asmir Begovic is expected to move on, just as soon as his space on the bench can be filled, but Chelsea are experiencing the usual problems associated with recruiting a player who may only see action in the initial stages of the EFL Cup.
Here the attention has turned to Eduardo Carvalho, who has made it clear his days at Dinamo Zagreb are over.
He may have a familiar name, but don't make the mistake of assuming he is related to Ricardo: about one in 50 people in Portugal share the common family name, which means 'oak tree' (many Portuguese names have arboreal origins).
Curiously, the 33-year-old keeper is set to turn down Champions League football to make the move to London: having helped Dinamo qualify on Wednesday night, at the expense of Red Bull Salzburg.