Ipswich Town boss Paul Jewell has said the club cannot afford to make a move for Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard.
The Tigers are eager to remove the 32-year-old, who was loaned out to Town last season, from their wage bill.
"The owners there are not prepared to let Jimmy go out on loan unless there's a huge contribution to his wages," Jewell told BBC Radio Suffolk.
"It's a deal we'd both like to do but if it's a messy deal financially you just can't do it."
Bullard has been reported to be earning £45,000 a week at the KC Stadium, with Hull's head of football operations Adam Pearson revealing in February that Ipswich had been paying almost half of the midfielder's wages throughout his four-month loan spell.
In March, Bullard suggested he would be willing to take a pay cut to move to Suffolk, saying: "Finances aren't everything I'm about, football's my main prerogative."
But Jewell is not confident: "I spoke to Adam Pearson and I spoke to Jimmy at length. Jimmy was great for us and I think we were good to Jimmy.
"But finances speak at the end of the day. Jimmy's on a fantastic contract there, he's on a top Premier League contract, everybody knows that.
"He probably won't play here again. That's not through a lack of ambition, it's just through being realistic - we can't pay the money Hull and Jimmy are looking for.
"Jimmy's got two years left on a huge deal and after hours of negotiations it's not going to happen."
Meanwhile, Jewell has admitted to making an enquiry about Preston defender Sean St Ledger, but added: "It's a long way from happening.
"There's a number of players we're looking at, he's one of them, we haven't made an offer, we asked about his availability."