Bolton's attempts to seal a deal for Nicolas Anelka to make his Premiership return are being thwarted by Turkish club Fenerbahce.
Anelka, 27, has claimed agreement in principle on a four-year contract with the Trotters and Sam Allardyce has confirmed discussions with the French forward are at an advanced stage.
However, the Bolton manager has cautioned against expectation the deal is on the brink of completion, pointing out Anelka's current club are not proving to be the easiest negotiating partners.
'There is no point in trying to hide that we are interested in Nicolas but we are in the hands of Fenerbahce,' said Allardyce.
'We would like Nicolas Anelka and we are flattered he would like to join us, as he has said.
'The deal has been negotiated for a considerable period of time but we can't quite get the president of Fenerbahce to put the rubber-stamp on it.
'Hopefully, it will be done sooner rather than later. But, until Fenerbahce tell us we can go on with the deal, we are in their hands.'
Anelka certainly seems optimistic the transfer will be concluded and he will be cleared to join his fourth English team after previous spells with Arsenal, Liverpool and, latterly, Manchester City.
It is reported that Bolton have offered around £8million for the 27-year-old.
'My wish is to return to the Premiership and it's about to materialise,' said Anelka told L'Equipe.
'I have agreed with Bolton the terms and conditions of a four-year contract.
'My desire to join this club is very strong and I hope everything will be sealed at the start of this week.'
Allardyce was hoping the transfer would remain secret until it had been formally finalised.
Now, the Bolton boss is faced with the worry of knowing rival clubs could attempt to wreck the deal by trumping the north-west side with a big-money offer of their own.
'Once something like this becomes public, it concerns me,' he said. 'We would like Nicolas Anelka but when it becomes public, it only alerts other clubs, who might join the race and spoil all the hard work we have done.
'There is nothing we can do about that now, other than keep my fingers crossed.'
Meanwhile, Wanderers midfielder Gary Speed has signed a new two-year deal to remain at the Reebok Stadium until the summer of 2008.
The 36-year-old former Wales international, who joined Bolton from Newcastle in 2004, has made over 70 appearances and scored five goals for the club.
'Gary's top-flight experience is second to none and is vital to this football club.
'He has been with us for two seasons and during that time he has been exceptional for us.'