Cologne coach Christoph Daum will not make a move for striker Lukas Podolski until Bayern Munich give the go-ahead.
Podolski started his career with Cologne before moving to the Munich giants for 10million euros in 2006, but he has struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular and has admitted his future may lie elsewhere.
Cologne are poised to snap up the 23-year-old, who enjoyed an excellent Euro 2008 campaign with Germany, should Bayern wish to sell him, but they are determined to play by the rules.
'As long as there is no clear signal coming from Munich, we will respect the currently valid contracts,' said Daum.
'Munich wanted to sell Podolski to Stuttgart, but he did not want that and said instead 'If I am not required here anymore and they want to sell me, then only to Cologne', and we reacted to that.
'We spoke about it and said we would be ready for that to happen, but then the signal came from (Bayern chairman) Karl-Heinz Rummenigge that they did not want to sell him, and we respect that now.
'Since such a clear stance has been taken by Munich, then we have to abide by the rules.'
Daum also admitted Podolski's price tag could prove a stumbling block in a deal.
'I was extremely surprised (Bayern offered Podolski to Stuttgart) because I rate the player very highly,' he added.
'We are not able to spend 30million euros yet. But reality begins with a dream.'