Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has quashed any hope of John Terry re-joining the Championship club but insists he has sufficient options in defence.
The former England captain enjoyed a successful campaign at Villa Park, guiding the club to the play-off final at Wembley.
But the Villans were defeated 1-0 by Fulham and Terry subsequently departed, though he remains a free agent after turning down a move to Spartak Moscow.
Despite the career of the former Chelsea centre-back being riddled in uncertainty, Bruce says there is no chance of him returning to the Midlands club.
“If all was right and we could afford John, we would have him back in a heartbeat," Bruce said, according to the Birmingham Mail.
“But we’re not in a position to offer him the salary that he was on last season.
“We certainly weren’t able to compete with the offer he had in Russia, either.”
Bruce did attempt to cover his lack of defensive options by moving for Aberdeen's Scott McKenna and though the deal failed to materialise he denies the club ran out of time to secure the signing of the Scotland international.
“Well, it’s not entirely true (that we left it late)," he explained. “I spoke to Derek McInnes ten days before (the window closed).
“But the stance was that he wasn’t for sale. It was like us with (Jack) Grealish - he wasn’t for sale in this window.
“We didn’t like to hear that, but a bit like what we did with Jack, they did with Scott McKenna.”
The exit of Chris Samba and departure of Tommy Elphick and Ritchie de Laet on loan leaves Bruce with just five senior defenders for the first half of the campaign - however he has a contingency plan.
“I’ve got three right-backs, Alan Hutton who played the vast majority of the season at left-back, James Bree who can play anywhere, Axel Tuanzebe and Mile Jedinak," the ex-Manchester United defender added.
“In an ideal world, I would have loved to bring one in. We've got three months until the window opens again. I think we’ve got enough, we'll be fine.
“We’ve lost our goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone, and centre-half, John Terry, which, of course, are going to be difficult to replace.
“But we’ve still got the lads from last year. I think we’ll be okay."
Former West Ham defender James Collins is training with Villa, where he played between 2009 and 2012, while another former charge Gary Cahill has been linked with a return when he leaves Chelsea in the January transfer window.