Manchester City face an anxious wait to discover if they will be hit with a transfer ban for allegedly breaching rules around the signing of a teenage player, with a verdict in the controversial Benjamin Garre case finally due to be delivered within the next week.
Pep Guardiola is hoping to add at least three more players to his squad this summer as City seek to build on their exceptional title success by creating a dynasty. But their transfer plans could be threatened if the Court of Arbitration for Sport rules in favour of Velez Sarsfield, an Argentine club who claimed City acted unethically by approaching Garre when he was still 15 and flouted transfer rules by signing the attacking midfielder days after his 16th birthday.
If the CAS sides with Velez, the Premier League champions face the prospect of being banned from registering players for the next two transfer windows.
Fifa had upheld City's argument that Garre was free to join them after his 16th birthday because he holds an Italian passport, but Velez alleged that Fifa rules only allow players under 18 to move between clubs in European countries. Velez also took the world governing body to the CAS after it rejected an initial complaint from the South American club in September 2016.
City believe they acted within the rules and have always felt they were on strong ground, given that Fifa ratified the transfer.
The landmark court case was heard in July last year and a verdict was originally due to be delivered last autumn. However, the complex nature of the case resulted in the outcome being significantly delayed. A spokesman for the CAS told The Telegraph early last month that the "arbitral award" was being finalised and the parties involved would be informed by the end of March but, after further delays, it is now expected that the verdict will be announced by the end of this week or early next week.
If City were found guilty, they would have the right to a technical appeal. Such a scenario could delay the implementation of a transfer embargo and, depending on the time it takes to complete any appeal process, leave Guardiola free to strengthen his squad this summer. Velez would also have the right to a technical appeal if the CAS rules in favour of City and Fifa.
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have all been subjected to transfer bans in the past few years after being found guilty of breaching rules around the signing of international players under the age of 18.
Meanwhile, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Schalke are among the clubs to benefit financially from City's title win, with the triumph triggering a series of additional transfer payments.
Tottenham will receive £1.5 million from City under the terms of the projected £50 million deal that took right-back Kyle Walker from Spurs to the Etihad last summer.
Liverpool will net £1 million from Raheem Sterling's transfer in 2015, which cost an initial £44 million. Schalke will earn €1 million (£865,000) from Leroy Sane's transfer from the German club in 2016.
City's players will receive huge bonuses for winning the championship. The traditional pool split is no longer in operation with players now earning varying sums depending on the terms of their individual contracts since City have favoured a move to heavily incentivised deals.
Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, for example, will receive a £500,000 bonus for winning the title, in addition to an £800,000 bonus he had previously triggered for completing more than 60 per cent of City's league games this season.
It is thought other senior players such as Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Kompany will receive similar amounts to De Bruyne for winning the title.
The Telegraph, London