The door is not closed, but it is creaking shut on Chuks Aneke's MK Dons future.
The 25-year-old is out of contract with Dons at the end of the month, but has so far been absent from pre-season training when the squad returned earlier this week.
After scored 19 goals for the club last season, Aneke, along with top-scorer Kieran Agard, were offered new deals last season to extend their stays at Stadium MK, but while Agard penned his to remain, Aneke is set to become a free agent.
Manager Paul Tisdale said Aneke's future remains unknown, and though it looks more and more unlikely the longer time goes on, he won't rule out a return for the front man.
"Never say never," said the manager. "We haven't made all our signings. I'm fond of him, he's a good footballer, he can score goals – why would I close the door? But the longer it goes on, the less likely it is. But we're out there looking for our alternatives also. We're both entitled to do it.
"We made him a good offer, a really good offer earlier in the year. He had a really good attitude, he did everything we asked of him, he played well, contributed to promotion. I can take no umbrage with someone who has contributed to our success.
"His contract ends this month, and he's looking at his options and I don't blame him. He's a very talented player. If he had wanted to stay, there was a contract for him. He's out there looking for an alternative and he's entitled to do that. I wish him no ill-feeling. I hope he finds a contract out there that is palatable to us also, which says his time here has been well spent, he has developed and progressed in his career and has another position somewhere that has taken him forward. He's not here today because that what he's trying to find.
"I'd be surprised if he doesn't get what he wants. He's a great age, a talented player and did his bit. This team got relegated and they stayed, got their heads down and listened to what I said and played for the team."