Manager Leonid Slutsky admits Hull City’s board will have the final say on transfers after Swansea City stepped up their interest in Sam Clucas.
The Tigers are facing a race against time to build a squad capable of coping with the rigours of a Championship campaign.
Just 12 days remain before the window closes and Abel Hernandez this week being ruled out long term with a ruptured Achilles has exacerbated Slutsky’s problems.
Swansea’s £12m bid for Clucas being rejected on the back of a £10m offer from Burnley also being rebuffed has been a rare positive in a troubling few days for the Russian.
“Another very difficult situation,” said Slutsky when asked about Clucas and the possibility of the Welsh club returning with an increased bid.
“But we hope he continues to play in the team because he is very important player for us, a key player.
“I want him to continue to play but, in realistic situation, I don’t know.”
Asked if that meant the final decision rested with the club’s owners, Slutsky replied: “Of course, it is the owner’s decision with each transfer situation.
“It is his decision about development of the club and I am only speaking about my opinion of the situation. It is a decision for the owner.”
Even if Hull hold on to Clucas, there can be little doubt that their squad is thin on numbers.
Slutsky was keen on bringing Kenneth Zohore in from Cardiff City, but Neil Warnock earlier this week told the Tigers to forget about such a notion.
Asked how vital the next 12 days will be to Hull’s season, Slutsky added: “The transfer window is important for each club because in the transfer window you can understand the desire and ambition of a club.
“For me, (this is) now a very difficult time. We continue to try and keep the players all together, but it is not easy.
“It is difficult talking about the future because it does not depend on me. It depends on a lot of situations and I cannot manage all of them.
“What I can control, I try and manager and prepare for each match. I don’t think about what I can’t manage in this moment.”
As for Hernandez, Slutsky added: “I hope he will be ready in February. He needs special attention, but, yes, I expect him back.”