Rochdale manager Keith Hill has told Middlesbrough they risk missing out on the signature of Craig Dawson.
Boro have had two bids for the highly-rated defender turned down by Dale, who insist they will not waiver from their valuation of the player.
Hill says Dawson will remain at Spotland unless counterpart Gordon Strachan meets the asking price for the 20-year-old.
He told the club's official website: "I consider Craig to be like a son with respect to the way we try and nurture him and I understand he wants to leave and go to a Championship club.
"The fact is our valuation of Craig hasn't been met by any club and it will be Middlesbrough's loss when he goes and signs for another club that will meet Rochdale AFC's valuation."
Hill feels that Dawson will attract the interest of other teams in the second tier once the new campaign gets under way, leaving the Teesside outfit competing with rival bidders.
Hill spotted the talent of the Rochdale-born player while he was plying his trade at non-league side Radcliffe Borough.
Dawson has since expressed his desire to compete at a higher level after guiding the Lancashire outfit to promotion to League One last season in his first season at the club.
But his manager insists the defender will be focussed on his duties for his existing employers should no deal materialise.
Hill added: "Middlesbrough are trying to play hardball but I know Craig Dawson and I know his form will be good at the beginning of the season and I know in the space of 10 or 15 games there will be more bids and bigger bids and Middlesbrough will miss out.
"Craig will remain focused on playing for Rochdale and the future will take care of itself. He is a Rochdale player and Craig will remain a Rochdale player until our valuation is met and everyone should realise that."