Claudio Ranieri admits Roma's efforts to sign Nicolas Burdisso could be doomed to failure.
The capital giants have been chasing the Argentine defender all summer, having been impressed by him during a loan spell last season.
However, his current employers, Inter Milan, are refusing to lower their valuation of a player who fared admirably at the 2010 World Cup.
As a result, discussions have come to a standstill, with Roma unable to meet the demands of their Serie A rivals.
Ranieri said: "Burdisso? If Inter continue with the amount they are asking for, I'm afraid we cannot afford him.
"They must come down to a reasonable request, taking into account that they did not even include him in their Champions League squad last season."
While Burdisso remains some way down the pecking order at Inter, the reigning European champions are refusing to relax their stance.
Technical director Marco Branca feels their valuation of the 29-year-old defender is justified, given that he is an experienced international.
He told Sky Italia: "I have a good relationship with (Roma's sporting director, Daniele) Prade and if Roma want to call me they can. But I think they are looking at other players.
"In regard to the value of the player, do you think that Burdisso is only worth 3.5 or 4 million euros (£3.3m)?
"Last season he was available for loan but now he is worth much more.
"We know that the player would like to join Roma, but their offer is too low. The desire of the player will be taken into account but it is also important to respect the wishes of the club, who have brought him to Italy and always tried to please him."