Franz Beckenbauer has launched a thinly-veiled attack on his successor as Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness by saying the club should have worked harder to persuade Manuel Neuer to join from Schalke.
Goalkeeper Neuer remains a transfer target for Bayern but the chances of a move going through appear to be reducing by the day.
Schalke are keen to extend his contract beyond 2012 and have threatened legal action if it transpires a deal to take him to Bayern has already been agreed.
A deal would not seem to be in place, with Neuer no longer keen to leave Gelsenkirchen for Bavaria.
He had been open to a move when things were not going so well for his team earlier this season and Beckenbauer believes Hoeness got his strategy all wrong when he was responsible for transfers as the club's general manager earlier this year.
Beckenbauer, who is honorary president, feels Bayern will now have to take a gamble on another youngster for the future.
"If we really wanted him, we should have acted earlier," the 1974 World Cup-winning captain told Welt.
"Now it is difficult. His market value has since gone above and beyond the boundaries.
"If we don't get Neuer, then we are not going to get Rene Adler from Bayer Leverkusen either and that leaves us no other choice but to try an experiment once again."
Fight for second
Meanwhile, Beckenbauer has written off his team's chances of winning the Bundesliga title and admitted they are in a battle to finish second.
Borussia Dortmund hold a ten-point advantage over their nearest rivals at the halfway point of the season, while Bayern are a further four points back in fifth.
"Dortmund are not going to slip up now," said Beckenbauer.
"First place is decided, but second place remains realistic and that would still mean direct entry into the Champions League."