The protracted transfer of Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur to Manchester United has taken an unexpected turn with the White Hart Lane club threatening to let the striker rot in the reserves until their valuation of the player is met.
The 27-year-old forward was dropped by Spurs boss Juande Ramos for Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Sunderland after declaring the Bulgarian not 'focused enough' to warrant a place in the team.
Ramos' view that Berbatov's presence would 'not be good for the dressing room and the team effort' seems unlikely to change as the striker holds out for a move to Old Trafford.
With Spurs and United at loggerheads over Berbatov's £30million valuation and Ramos unimpressed with his attitude it seems Berbatov is set for a run in Clive Allen's reserve team.
With the transfer window set to close at midnight on September 1 Spurs are still waiting for an improved bid from United after the Old Trafford club's earlier offer of £20million was rejected.
The Red Devils, who are short of strikers at the moment, are expected to make a final take or leave it offer of £25million this week.
Berbatov joined Spurs from Bayer Leverkusen in 2006 for £10.9million and scored 23 goals in all competitions in both of his two seasons at White Hart Lane.
If Spurs were to lose Berbatov the club would be desperately short of attacking options with Robbie Keane having already joined Liverpool this summer leaving Darren Bent as their only available out-and-out striker.
Over the weekend Ramos was linked with a move for Wigan's Emile Heskey and River Plate's Radamel Falcao, while Ajax forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Zenit St Petersburg's Andrei Arshavin are known to be Tottenham targets.
Spurs were thought to have ended their summer-long interest in Arshavin as they were unable to agree a fee with his club, Zenit St Petersburg. However, Zenit have now signed Portuguese midfielder Danny from Dynamo Moscow and a deal with Spurs could be resurrected.
Unless a deal can be done to bring new attacking talent to Tottenham Berbatov's future could be in the reserves.