Crewe boss Steve Davis admits he is not confident about persuading starlet Max Clayton to sign a new long-term deal.
The 18-year-old has just one-year left on his current deal and so far talks have failed to reach any sort of agreement.
"I will speak to Max's agent next week about his future, the signs haven't been good, but until I have that discussion it's difficult to know what will happen," said Davis.
"There would be compensation if he was to leave at the end of his contract because he's under 24, but that's not big enough reward for the work we've put in with Max to make him what he is."
Clayton has featured for England Under-19s in recent weeks, and is being linked with Premier League and Championship clubs - but Davis says he is not ready to play at a higher level.
"He's a lad who wants to progress and does well, but he's not ready to go in my opinion and I've told him that," he said.
"He not ready to go and play for anyone's first team, certainly in the Premier League or maybe even in the Championship.
"He's just coming to terms with this division. He knows he's got a lot of improvements to make. He has to be patient.
"If he's here for an extra year and does well he will have a queue of clubs after him."