Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce has warned Sylvain Distin that he will not be making a step up if he decides to join Middlesbrough.
The French stopper is currently engaged in talks with Boro boss Gareth Southgate over a proposed £4.5 million switch to Teesside, but as yet, an accord has yet to be struck.
City's board are eager to see the player leave this summer rather than risk entering the final year of his contract, and likely leave the club for nothing at the end of the season, but Pearce admits he wants to keep the player.
The rookie tactician believes it would be a sideways step for Distin to swap City for Boro and he has told the player as much, as he gears up for Sunday's Premiership opener against Chelsea.
"If Sylvain goes, I would be disappointed because I don't see it as a step up," said Pearce.
"The mere fact he has taken two, three, four days to think about his decision means he knows he probably is not going to a better club than Manchester City.
"I am not too fussed either way.
"While the business people at the club would probably be happy to take the money, if Sylvain decides to remain where he is for another year, see his contract out and leave on a Bosman, I would be more than delighted."