Newcastle United have been left frustrated by the Football Association in their attempts to get Chancel Mbemba over the line.
The defender was on Tyneside last week for a medical ahead of a £7million move from Anderlecht.
However, the deal can’t be finalised until the FA meets to consider an application from the club for a Governing Body Endorsement, which is needed for the 20-year-old to get a visa.
A panel won’t meet until Thursday, meaning Mbemba is in limbo this week.
Thanks to Mbemba’s experience with DR Congo, he will fulfill the criteria needed for a work permit.
Mbemba will become the club’s third summer signing after midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and striker Alexsandar Mitrovic once the paperwork is completed.
Wijnaldum netted in yesterday’s 2-2 draw against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Head coach McClaren said: “We said at the beginning we have to be patient to make sure we get the right players.
“When the right players are available, we’ll get them, and we have done that.
“We’ve been fortunate with Wijnaldum that we got him early. Mitrovic will have ten days with us.
“Mbemba ... we’ll try to secure the visa to join us as well.
“Everybody and everything looks great on paper, but we’re signing good players.
“We hope they can settle in quickly and adapt to the Premier League.
“The sooner we get them in, the better.”
United issued a statement clarifying the status of Mbemba. While the statement was diplomatic in its tone, Newcastle are privately understood to be unhappy with the delay in convening a panel to consider its application for a GBE.
Meanwhile, midfielder Cheick Tiote – who was unable to travel to the USA because of a “visa issue” – missed yesterday’s game with a minor knee problem.