Kevin Blackwell has admitted Matthew Kilgallon could remain with Sheffield United beyond the January transfer window.
The centre-back's contract is due to expire in the summer and the Blades have seen talks over a possible extension collapse.
Kilgallon will be free to leave Bramall Lane for nothing at the end of the season and it had been expected that he would be sold in January.
Celtic, Newcastle, Hull City, Burnley and Bolton have all been linked with a move for the talented defender.
The Steel City outfit do not want to lose one of their most marketable assets next month for less than what they feel is a fair value and have hinted they are prepared to retain his services.
Manager Blackwell has been more than happy with Kilgallon's on-field displays in recent weeks and could keep him on board to aid their play-off push.
Despite admitting he is 'fearful' the former Leeds defender will depart, Blackwell told the Sheffield Star: "I'm not resigned to losing him either.
"The chairman has made it quite plain that we're not going to be held to ransom so if anything does happen then it's got to be right for us.
"Because Killa is in the last five months of his deal he's in the driving seat. But that doesn't mean we will allow ourselves to be turned over, either.
"If he does stay then he's shown with his performances of late that he's professional and committed.
"The situation did affect him a while ago but for the past seven or eight games he's been right back in the groove again.
"This is a damn good club," added Blackwell, "And one which is capable of going places. But the one thing I can't offer Killa at the moment is Premiership football."