Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson claims "unrealistic" wage demands could be the reason why young prospect Ravel Morrison is eventually allowed to join Newcastle.
Morrison, who turns 19 next month, is rated as one of the brightest talents to have been produced at Old Trafford in the past decade and has made three substitute appearances so far for the Premier League champions.
His current contract ends in the summer and Ferguson, who is facing a similar situation with Paul Pogba, has confirmed the young midfielder has rejected terms on a new deal.
Ferguson added United had turned down Newcastle's original offer but warned Morrison, whose chequered private life has cast a shadow over his undoubted talent, could yet leave Old Trafford.
"His agent has been working hard to get him another club," Ferguson said Friday. "We've offered him terms that he's refused. His demands are unrealistic as far as we're concerned.
"We've rejected an offer from Newcastle and that's down to how that progresses."
Ferguson, whose side entertain Bolton on Saturday, believes the fast pace at the top of the Premier League cannot be maintained throughout the season.
League leaders Manchester City, who play Wigan on Monday, have 48 points from their 20 matches and United and Tottenham are three points further back.
"I said two or three years ago that there was a tightening up in the league and it became a bit harder.
"There were four teams (United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool) and it became harder and there were six battling for it with Tottenham and City coming into the reckoning as opposed to the original four as we called it for years.
"In terms of a (title-winning) points total at the moment it looks as if it could be the high 80s which is surprising really.
"I don't think it's impossible but I think it's unlikely.
"We've got some difficult games away from home, we've got to go to Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, City, some tough games, so points will be dropped in the run-in....We just hope we don't drop as many as the rest."
Meanwhile Ferguson has let Republic of Ireland international Darron Gibson join mid-table Premier League side Everton.
Gibson, 24, had been at United since the age of 15, and featured in Champions League quarter finals and semi-finals for Ferguson, but the United manager felt now was the right time for the midfielder to move on.
"I think it's a good move for him," said Ferguson, who last weekend preferred to recall Paul Scholes from retirement rather than play Gibson in United's FA Cup win over City.
"He has to get on with his career. He's got terrific ability, Darron, but he knew he wasn't going to be a first-team regular here all the time.
"He played some terrific games for us but unfortunately he got an injury in the early part of the season that kept him out for 10 weeks but he's fit again and it's a good opportunity for him."
Ferguson added Gibson would be a welcome boost to Everton manager David Moyes's squad as he became the latest player to make the trip from Old Trafford to Goodison Park, following goalkeeper Tim Howard and defender Phil Neville.
"They need that player because they've struggled with injuries and David has not really had any financial clout to improve the situation.
"But Darron Gibson's got quality and the experience of being here. Tim Howard and Phil Neville have both gone to Everton and done fantastically well and hopefully that's another one."