BOSTON United's hopes of signing Stamford midfielder James Ozmen are dead in the water, according to Graham Drury.
The Pilgrims manager lodged a seven-day approach for the former Corby and Belper middleman and has held talks with the player.
However, he has so far failed to strike a deal with Ozmen, who played under Drury at both Corby and Stamford.
"Ozzy (Ozmen) is a good young player," said Drury.
"He's great late on in games when he'll get box to box. He's got a great engine.
"But I'm not willing to overpay for players. We haven't got the kind of finance to do that.
"I see Ozzy at a figure, but he feels he needs a bit more to come to Boston.
"That's dead in the water."
However, there is still time for Derby-based Ozmen to drop his wage demands.
"He's got another two weeks following the seven-day approach," said Drury following Saturday's 1-1 draw at Workington.
"But he knows I'm a hard taskmaster and I won't move from what I've offered him.
"It's up to him to accept it because it's one in, one out and I've got to replace what we've got with better players."
Despite so far failing to lure Ozmen to the Jakemans Stadium, the United boss insists he has a competitive budget.
"It's a play-off budget in my opinion if you start the season with it," said Drury.
"Jason (Lee) chose this group of players and it's a good group of players.
"It just needs a bit more experience. If we had that experience I do believe we would be a play-off team."
The Pilgrims have released Jason Stokes while another winger, Kallum Smith, has joined Grantham Town on loan.