Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has admitted that a deal for Ronaldinho remains some way off.
The Italian giants had appeared to be strong favourites to lure the Brazilian to Serie A, but admitted after their 5-1 thrashing of Reggina on Sunday that they had failed to match Barcelona's asking price for the player.
Galliani had claimed last week that the former World Player of the Year was only interested in a move to the Rossoneri, but has now been forced to backtrack on that statement.
"I don't know if a deal will be done," he said.
"We have to operate within the framework of market conditions. If it happens, great, if not we'll change our objectives."
Milan's offer for Ronaldinho is believed to be some way short of Barcelona's valuation, and they would not be able to compete financially if the likes of Chelsea and Internazionale joined the race for his signature.
Milan have established a good relationship with Ronaldinho's brother and agent Roberto de Assis, but Galliani accepts that any prospective deal is unlikely to happen while they struggle to establish terms with his current owners.
"I've never said that we are close to Barcelona," he admitted.
"It's one thing to be close to Ronaldinho, but quite another to be close to the club.
"There are other teams as well as Inter interested in Ronaldinho. I've been dipping into the market for many years and there's nothing strange here.
"If Barcelona accept our offer we'll do a deal, if not we won't."
While the transfer saga looks unlikely to be resolved any time soon, Milan will be keen to ensure that they can at least offer Ronaldinho UEFA Champions League football next season should he move to the San Siro.
They are currently four points behind Fiorentina in the battle for fourth spot, and Galliani knows that they are now relying on the Viola to slip up in their remaining four games if they are to snatch the all important place in Europe's premier club competition.
"We believe in ourselves, the only way to qualify for the Champions League is to win all our matches," he said.
"But a lot depends on Fiorentina."