Aston Villa have rejected a £1 million offer from Liverpool to sign Nolberto Solano - but the European champions are so determined to sign the Peru international midfield player that they are set to return with an increased bid.
An offer of £2 million would tempt Villa, for Solano is in the final year of his contract, is 31, and cost only £1.5 million from Newcastle United in January 2004.
But David O'Leary, the Villa manager, is in no rush to sell a player whose skill with set-pieces and in open play did much to ensure that the club finished away from danger in the Premiership last season.
Villa's bid to sign Milan Baros, the Czech international striker, from Liverpool will carry on regardless. Liverpool want £7 million, Villa have offered only £6 million, but a deal seems certain to take place before the transfer window closes on August 31.
Villa will probably offer £6.5 million and hope that Baros can sign when he returns today from international duty in Prague.
Indeed, Baros has resigned himself to leaving Anfield and has expressed hope that he will be eligible to play for Villa away to Manchester United in the Premiership on Saturday.
The problem goes deeper than money. Liverpool would prefer to sell Baros to a club on the continent rather than to one in the Premiership, where he could hinder their title prospects in Villa colours.
O'Leary sees Solano as an essential member of the team and would see the Peruvian as offering the sort of crosses and passes that would bring the best out of Baros. Selling Solano would defeat part of the object.
Yet O'Leary knows that Solano can leave for nothing at the end of the season and that £2 million now would at least allow him to go back into the transfer market.
" I admire Liverpool's taste," O'Leary said. "But any suggestion that he is going there has been rejected. He is a valuable player for me here and he is going nowhere. He is happy here and I am happy."
Solano has played in 50 matches for Villa since joining the club 19 months ago and, for the most part, has been their most effective player. Having retired from international football, Solano has hinted that he will leave the Premiership at the end of his contract.
However, the lure of Uefa Champions' League football with Liverpool would inevitably prompt a rethink. While he is happy at Villa Park, he would wonder at the possibilities available to him if he moved to Anfield.
Villa still have a relatively small squad and O'Leary is looking to strengthen rather than weaken it. He is sure to sign a central defender before the transfer window closes although he knows that his budget will be tight after he signs Baros.
For now, the Villa manager must make do with Olof Mellberg and Martin Laursen at the heart of the defence, with Liam Ridgewell and Mark Delaney providing cover.