Aston Villa will today await SV Hamburg's next move after turning down their first official bid for star striker Milan Baros.
Officials from the German club were in Birmingham to attend a Villa Park meeting with Doug Ellis to discuss the future of the Czech Republic international.
But, despite the need to raise funds before manager David O'Leary can buy, the Villa chairman still wants a profit on the #6.5 million Villa paid Liverpool for Baros last August. And the German bid came in some way below that.
"Their valuation of Milan Baros was in no way acceptable," said Ellis.
"We're not in the business of selling any of our players on the cheap and Milan certainly fits into that category.
"And, although talks remained affable and courteous throughout, the German delegation have gone back to Germany to consider what, if anything, to do next."
Baros and Villa captain Olof Mellberg were absent yesterday as the rest of the first team squad returned to pre-season training at Bodymoor Heath, having been granted an extra fortnight's holiday due to their World Cup endeavours.
But injury-jinxed trio Mark Delaney, Patrik Berger and Martin Laursen , who all ended last season still under treatment, were able to take part in Villa's first full training session.
Laursen was given the green light to rejoin the first team squad by physio Alan Smith, who flew out to Italy to check on his rehabilitation progress. And he admitted: "It was always my aim to join the rest of the lads for the start of pre-season training. But now I have a lot of hard work to do".
It was otherwise not too happy a day for Villa fans, who watched in frustration as two previous items on O'Leary's 'wish list' went elsewhere.
Robert Huth, the winter target O'Leary wasn't even allowed to bring in on loan, was set to move from Chelsea to Gareth Southgate's Middlesbrough for #5 million. And a more recent Villa target, O'Leary's former Leeds United striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, was at The Valley for his medical after being offered a one-year deal at Charlton Athletic.
But there was consolation in that O'Leary may now have an alternative source of transfer funding at his disposal after Villa shareholders voted at the club's EGM to rubber stamp the #7 million sale of the club's spare land on their Serpentine car park site.