Ryan McGowan has been told by Hearts boss John McGlynn to forget about securing another lucrative contract amid ongoing negotiations.
The versatile 23-year-old, who rejected Rangers in the summer, sees his current deal expire at the end of the season and his agent has admitted he could have to look for a new club.
Talks are ongoing between a cost-cutting Hearts and McGowan but McGlynn has made it clear the Australia international cannot expect a similar wage packet in any contract extension.
McGlynn said in the Daily Record: "It's negotiations, we all know how it works.
"They want a bit more but Hearts are having to cut back and haven't been paying what they previously did.
"That's why we are where we are so if players are looking for the money they were getting 18 months or a year ago, it's probably not going to happen.
"We have to cut our cloth and break even. But the best place for Ryan to continue his development for the next two or three years is Tynecastle.
"I don't see him being distracted by contract talks, because negotiations have been going on for a while."