Burton Albion have been told they will have to pay a fee if they want to sign Crewe striker Calvin Zola.
Alex want to offload the 25-year-old and are prepared to let him leave Gresty Road on loan.
However, the Cheshire club want to tie any temporary move to a permanent deal in the January transfer window as they are keen to recoup some of the £200,000 they paid Tranmere for Zola in 2008.
"If a club wants to agree terms with Calvin then they can, but I won't let him go on a free," Crewe boss Dario Gradi told the club's official website.
Burton boss Paul Peschisolido said on Tuesday that he would "keep trying" to sign Zola, who has rejected moves to League Two rivals Shrewsbury, Bradford and Southend.