Birmingham City's bid to make Chelsea midfielder Jiri Jarosik's loan switch into a permanent move could be put in jeopardy not just by their own poor Premiership position but by interest from German side Borussia Dortmund as well.
Blues are keen to sign Jarosik for £3 million if they escape relegation, given that he is their second leading scorer and one of the few players to have come out of the current campaign with much credit.
However, Bundesliga side Dortmund have made the Czech Republic international one of their top targets this summer, as they look to compensate for the inevitable loss of Jarosik's compatriot, Tomas Rosicky.
Jarosik had previously indicated that he would like to stay with Birmingham if they avoid relegation, but Dortmund's interest could alter his thinking.
Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson spoke of his 'agony' at watching his former players struggle at the wrong end of the Premiership table.
Ferguson's team hammered the latest nail into Birmingham's coffin - Blues have been stuck in the drop zone since October - with a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford on Sunday but he took no delight in compounding Steve Bruce's agony.
He had also deepened Bryan Robson's anxiety last weekend when his United team won at The Hawthorns.
"It's agony watching what they are going through, because they have been such great servants to this club, especially in the early years when we were striving for success," said Ferguson.
"They played such an important role and I feel for both of them. With the qualities they have, they don't deserve to be down there.
"But they are both battlers and they will give everything they have to fight their way out of trouble."