Barcelona's hopes of signing David Albelda have taken a step forward after the defensive midfielder rejected Valencia's latest offer of a new contract.
The 29-year-old has a deal at Mestalla that runs until 2009, but the club are keen to add another season with the offer of increased wages.
With Barca publicly making their interest known, Albelda is only prepared to stay at Valencia if they offer a similar pay package to the one he could receive at Camp Nou.
Reports that suggest los Che are offering around é¼100,000-per-week appear to be wide of the mark as the player's agent, Alberto Toldra, revealed that the money on offer was not acceptable.
"Today the option to sign is impossible because the money offered is insufficient," he claimed. "However, we are still ready to talk and have time on our side."
Albelda came through the ranks at Valencia and has been the team captain for the past five seasons, but his growing discontent has alerted Barca.
Txiki Begiristain has held meetings with Camp Nou coach Frank Rijkaard and the duo believe that the Spain international could be the answer to their defensive midfield position dilemma.
The breakdown of talks between Albelda and Valencia could well see the Catalan club make their move and agree to meet his wage demands.