Watford boss Adrian Boothroyd today admitted he was no longer certain of keeping Ashley Young after rejecting a £5million bid for the forward during the last 48 hours.
Boothroyd also turned down two other offers for Young, who has been the outstanding outfield player during the Hornets' difficult season in the Barclays Premiership.
Boothroyd had always insisted the highly-rated Young, who has been linked with several clubs including Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa, would not be sold during January - but accepted today that his star man could depart.
'I have had three Premiership clubs on the phone making verbal bids for Ashley Young, but I have turned them all down,' said Boothroyd.
'As it stands today, I absolutely do not see him leaving the club this month.
'But tomorrow, Ashley might come up to me and say: `I've had enough.' But he is not daft, and he knows this is the best place for him to be.
'I know there will be people who have agendas to have Ashley moved on, and I understand that.
'But, thankfully, the people surrounding him are good people, and Ashley is a very level-headed, talented young man.
'If and when the time is right, and he wants to go, he will go. But the price has to be right, and it has to mean the club will be improved.'
Young is an England Under-21 international who has scored four times for Watford this season.
Although Boothroyd's men are bottom of the table with just one win from 20 matches, Young's contribution has almost always been impressive.
And with centre-forward Marlon King sidelined for the rest of the campaign with a knee injury, Boothroyd understands the importance of Young to Watford's slim survival chances.
'Ashley is playing every week, he is a key player for us, and he is improving,' continued the 35-year-old boss.
'He began playing regularly after I took over (in March 2005), and he has gone through so much since then.
'He burst onto the scene, he has had his little tantrums, he has been sent off, he has scored unbelievable goals and had assists.
'He can score and make goals from anywhere - and he is still only 21. So Ashley is a huge asset to us.'
Boothroyd has already made moves in the transfer market, signing forward Moses Ashikodi from Rangers for a nominal fee, and revealed today that offers for other players had 'gone in during the last two days.'
He added: 'Things are starting to escalate.'