Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce has ruled out cashing in on Sylvain Distin in the January transfer window.
The defender's present deal is winding down and he will be able to walk away from Eastlands on a free transfer in the summer if he fails to sign a new contract.
Pearce is determined to pull out all the stops to retain the services of the centre-half and will give the club every opportunity to thrash out a new deal.
"I have been speaking to Sylvain for the last 18 months and if it takes me until the last day of his contract to persuade him to stay that is fine," said Pearce.
"When he told us he didn't want to go to Middlesbrough I instantly looked upon that as giving me extra time to convince him he should follow the other top players who want to be part of this club.
"Not for one moment have I thought about trying to move him on next month. I would rather keep him here and, if the worst-case scenario arrives and he leaves for nothing, that is just the way it goes.
"I know Sylvain likes playing for us and I know his family is happy in the area. But the thing that will persuade him to sign a new contract is not words from me, it is the performances of the team he is part of.
"I honestly believe he will stay but we have to get enough positive results to make sure it happens."