Cheltenham Town are hoping to sign Gary Hooper after Hereford United appeared to concede defeat in their bid to sign the Southend United striker.
Hooper is on the transfer list at Southend and has four clubs on his trail, with Scunthorpe United also rumoured to be showing an interest.
He scored 11 goals in 19 appearances on loan at Hereford last season, but Bulls boss Graham Turner admits the youngster is now out of his price range.
"We agreed a fee with Southend and it looked more than likely to go through, but Gary went on holiday, his agent was away and in that time three other clubs made offers three times the amount that had been accepted by Southend," Turner told the club's official website.
In with a chance
"Naturally enough Southend looked at it and thought why should we accept that when we can get three times as much.
"It looks likely that we are going to lose Gary, it's moved into the realms of transfer fees that we can't get involved in."
League One rivals Cheltenham have held talks with Hooper, although the deal could hinge on whether unsettled striker Steven Gillespie stays at Whaddon Road.
Robins manager Keith Downing told the Gloucestershire Echo: "We are in there with a chance of signing Gary. He's come down and spoken to us, so it's now down to the player.
"I have to prepare for life with or without Steven Gillespie. I want to get Gary involved even if Gillespie stays, so we'll see if we can entice him here."