West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has told Stoke City they must up their offer for Carlton Cole if they want to land the striker.
The Potters are reported to have made a bid of £3million plus various add-ons for the 27-year-old frontman.
Allardyce accepts the Hammers have to look at balancing the books following relegation from the Premier League last season.
Cole and fellow England internationals Rob Green and Scott Parker have been linked with a summer departure from Upton Park to remain in the top flight.
But the new Hammers boss stressed they would not be allowed to leave on the cheap.
"I believe at this stage that the offer is not good enough. It is not to the club's valuation," he told The Sentinel.
"We are keen to keep our key players. However, we have lost our Premier League status and our financial position has to be addressed.
"A part of that might be players are sold back to the Premier League, but only so long as that is right for our club."
West Ham signed Cole from Chelsea in 2006 and he is under contract until 2013.
He scored 11 goals last season and has a total of 42 from 165 appearances for the Hammers.