Acting Aston Villa manager Gary McAllister said the club would do everything possible to keep Ashley Young, reportedly a summer transfer target for Manchester United and Liverpool.
McAllister admitted that the prospect of playing in the Champions League may well prove irresistible to Young but the Villa caretaker insists that the player's departure is not a foregone conclusion.
Villa may be forced to sell Young if the player demands a move or risk losing the striker for nothing when his current contract runs out next year.
But McAllister is holding out hope Young will stay.
"I don't think it's inevitable Ashley will go," he said.
"We will do everything we can to keep him here. He has become an England player playing for Aston Villa."
"The partnership of him and Darren Bent has looked exciting for Fabio Capello, for sure."
"The grass is also not always greener somewhere else but we are not silly. We have to be realistic."
"All players have ambition to play in the Champions League."
"We can't give them that. It's a goal but we all know how difficult it is to get up there."
McAllister nevertheless praised Young's concentration on the job amid persistent rumours he may leave.
"The facts are that Ashley could have been distracted with all the talk," McAllister said. "There's not a day passed when he hasn't been linked with somebody but he is a good professional."