Manchester United manager David Moyes has admitted he could fail in another attempt to sign Leighton Baines if Everton refuse to sell the left-back.
Moyes made a series of attempts to sign the England international in the summer transfer window but while his former club allowed Marouane Fellaini to move to Old Trafford in a 27.5 million-pound deal, they would not let Baines leave.
But on Friday Everton manager Roberto Martinez dismissed the possibility of Baines moving to United in January.
And Moyes, who has been looking to sign a left-back since his summer appointment, fears a new bid would also be rejected.
He said: "If they are determined to hold on to him [Baines] then he can't be going anywhere, so it's worthless asking me the question."
Fellaini remains Moyes' only major signing and the Scot reiterated that he hopes to add to his squad in January.
Moyes, who also hopes to bolster his midfield, sent his assistant Steve Round on a scouting mission to watch Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus on Tuesday. But he is adamant he will not panic buy, saying his recruitment policy was to make signings "only if the right players are available and they fit exactly what we want. We would like to, but as always there are no guarantees."
United visit Tottenham on Sunday with Moyes anticipating a tough test, even though Andre Villas-Boas' side lost their last league game 6-0 to Manchester City. He added: "We know that no matter when you go to Tottenham, you'll always get a hard game against Manchester United."
United hope their top scorer Robin van Persie will be fit to return after missing their last two games and Moyes believes the attacking combination of the Dutchman and Wayne Rooney is as good as any in England.
The Liverpool pair of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and the Manchester City duo of Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero have also been prolific.
But Moyes said: "I think we compare with anyone in the Premier League. There have been quite a few changes in strike partnerships in the Premier League and some very good forwards, and as you'd expect, I think we've got a partnership to rival any of them."