Steve Bruce says he doubts whether Premier League rivals Birmingham City and Stoke City can afford to sign Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones.
The Trinidad & Tobago international has been linked with a string of top-flight clubs during the January transfer window, with Birmingham and Stoke reported to be leading the chase.
Black Cats boss Bruce wants to keep hold of Jones and last week confirmed that the club had not received any offers for the former Southampton youngster.
Bruce believes that, on his best form, Jones could be worth £40million and is determined to help the 25-year-old perform to a consistent standard.
And while Bruce accepts every player has his price, he does not believe Birmingham and Stoke have the financial clout to prise Jones away from the Stadium of Light.
"Everybody's got their price, whether you're Steven Gerrard or Cristiano Ronaldo, and if something out there blows your brains," said Bruce.
"But with no disrespect to Stoke or Birmingham, can they afford him? I very much doubt it. It's not just the fee but wages, all the rest of it. I just can't see it.
"On his day, you can look at Kenwyne and say he's worth £40m, then on another day you'll think, 'Come on'. That's Kenwyne.
"He tests your skills as a manager. He's a big, genuine, nice lad. It's always the challenge - to get the best out of him."