Middlesbrough are prepared to keep Djed Spence beyond the summer transfer window should an acceptable offer not come forward.
According to the Northern Echo, Boro are not willing to be backed into a corner in negotiations over the future of the 22-year old.
The club is looking to cash-in on the full back who excelled during his loan stint with Nottingham Forest over the last 12 months.
A price tag of £20 million has been placed on his future, with Tottenham Hotspur and Forest competing for his signature.
It was reported late last week that Spurs had agreed a deal with Boro to complete the signing of Spence.
However, it is now being suggested that the London club is delaying a move in order to get a more favourable transfer agreement over the line.
But this has seen Middlesbrough counter that attempt by claiming the club is willing to hold onto the player unless their demands are met this summer.
Antonio Conte has identified Spence as his number one transfer priority in that position.
The club have already agreed a deal to sign Ivan Perisic and have now come to terms with Brighton & Hove Albion over the signing of Yves Bissouma.
Can you remember how much Middlesbrough paid for these 22 summer signings?
But no agreement has yet been confirmed in their efforts to sign Spence despite an approach being anticipated.
An initial inquiry early in the summer from Spurs has not been followed up with any concrete offer for the Boro player.
Spurs have used similar tactics in the past to leave deals as late in the window as possible in order to secure the best agreement possible.
However, if Boro are willing to eat the cost of a transfer by keeping Spence beyond the summer then the London club does not have the bargaining position they thought they did.
Despite it initially seeming like a deal would be completed in relatively quick fashion, it is now becoming apparent that this is a saga that could drag on for the next several weeks.
But it is still unlikely that Spence will actually remain at the Riverside given he only has 12 months left on his existing contract at the club.