Aston Villa manager David O'Leary's priorities have changed after he has learned that Martin Laursen has suffered a setback on his protracted road to recovery
The 29-year-old has figured in just 13 matches for Villa since his #3 million transfer from AC Milan in 2004 and has suffered a series of debilitating knee injuries.
The Denmark international travelled to the USA and met renowned surgeon Dr Richard Steadman in a bid to cure the ongoing problem.
However, despite earlier reports that Laursen would be available for pre-season, O'Leary has cast doubt on that possibility.
He said: "Martin is progressing. I know he has started running and doing some of the physical work but he has had a bad injury and we don't want to rush him back.
"The plan was for him to join pre-season training when we report back on July 10 - but he might not be in action until October.
"You have only got to look at the goals we conceded last year to realise what we are missing defensively. The men who matter are aware of my feelings on the subject."
Laursen arrived at Villa Park with a history of injuries as he endured problems with his knee during a spell at Verona in Italy in 1998 and he missed Euro 2000 due to injury as well.
He joined Villa in May 2004 on a four-year deal, but his appearances for David O'Leary's side have been limited thus far.
It looked as though he had put his problems behind him when he scored his first goal against Middlesbrough in March 2005, but his problematic knee flared up once again after the opening day of last season against Bolton.
Meanwhile, the club have vehemently denied any contact with a mystery Russian businessman who is alleged to be lining up a multi-million pound to buy Aston Villa.
Chairman Doug Ellis confirmed that offers have been placed on he table and a #64 million bid from the Comer brothers is still viable, although Ellis is almost certain to reject their offer.
Yet the unidentified bidder, who is said to have contacted the club through investment bank Rothschilds, is believed to be contemplating pouring money into either Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers or Blackburn Rovers.
Yet Villa poured scorn on these reports yesterday evening and Ellis is adamant that he won't sell the crown jewels to anyone who doesn't have the club's best interests at heart.
The octogenarian chairman has primed Rothschilds to search for a buyer, but they have yet to locate anyone with the potential funds to satisfy Ellis.
The Comer brothers bid is believed to have hit a stumbling block because of a dearth of profitable development opportunities in Aston.
Another Russian consortium were linked last September while Ray Ranson's group of investors failed to tempt Ellis in March with a #45 million offer. However, Ellis insists he is ready to vacate Villa Park if the terms are acceptable to him.
"I have said quite openly that I was prepared to sell to the Comer brothers who came in with an offer way below the true value of the club," he said.
"Nevertheless, they were seen to be football people, terribly keen to get into football.
"Unfortunately so far it hasn't come off. Having said that, we are looking at other people, of course, who have come in. "As and when that happens, the criteria is that they are football people and can take Aston Villa forward."