Joe Ledley has been at Cardiff City since the age of nine
Cardiff City boss Dave Jones has given the clearest hint yet the club will sell Joe Ledley for the right price.
The Bluebirds missed out on the play-offs as defeat at Sheffield Wednesday meant they lost a top-six place to Preston North End on goal difference.
Cardiff could now lose Ledley, who has been linked to Stoke City, Wigan Athletic and West Ham.
"If the price is right the club will have to take a calculated view," said Cardiff manager Jones.
Wales international Ledley, whose Ninian Park contract expires in 12 months' time, is one of the hottest properties outside the Premier League and has been the subject of two failed bids from top-flight clubs this season.
Stoke had a £6m offer turned down by the Welsh club for their prized asset on transfer deadline day last summer and Cardiff chairman Peter Ridsdale also rejected a bid from another Premier League club on January transfer deadline day.
The 22-year-old midfielder, key centre-back Roger Johnson, top scorer Ross McCormack and full-back Kevin McNaughton will attract attention from big clubs after Cardiff failed in their promotion quest despite being in the top six virtually every week since October.
And manager Jones insisted he must sell - especially players whose contracts are running down - to improve his squad.
We might have to sell one player and use the money to buy two or three players to help us get to the next stage
Cardiff City manager Dave Jones
"When the money came in for Joe last time, it came in an hour before the transfer deadline," recalled Jones.
"It was too late for us to find somebody else, so it wasn't the right time to sell him. They thought they could pinch Joe but the club were in a strong position and we didn't have to sell him.
"Now the decision might be taken - if a player has one year left on their contract and the money is right then the decision might be taken out of our hands.
"You can't let players run down their contracts and go for free when their contract expires because that is bad business.
"So there will be decisions that are made that doesn't fare well with everybody and that is the hard facts of football. That is what we did with Aaron Ramsey and Glenn Loovens in the past.
"We might have to sell one player and use the money to buy two or three players to help us get to the next stage."
Cardiff captain Ledley is highly regarded and was named alongside team-mate Johnson in the Professional Footballers Association's Championship team of the year.
Ledley was "flattered" to be linked with a Premier League move and said a few months ago that any potential switch would be "down to the club and not down to me".
Ridsdale has previously warned that Cardiff "needs to sell a player a year to survive", and the 25-times capped Wales international may have played his final game for his home-town club.
Jones insisted Cardiff no longer have to sell to survive, but admitted: "There are players who might think getting promotion hasn't worked for me so a Premier League club will come in for me, but they still have to grow up mentally.
"If they leave this football club, they won't all of a sudden become a better player as they have to get over the mental problem they've had this year by not seeing the job through."
Jones conceded his squad lacked the necessary mental strength as they lost out on a Championship play-off place to Preston by the narrowest of margins.
Preston thrashed Cardiff 6-0 at Deepdale three weeks ago and ultimately pipped the Welsh side for a top-six place on goal difference, by just one goal.
"There will always be disappointments throughout your life but you must come back fighting," said Jones. "I am a fighter and I have told the players that if they are not prepared to fight, then they will leave this club.
"Perhaps some people thought they'd done it and qualified for the play-offs and mentally switched off. It is gut-wrenching for everybody as everybody thought we had got there.
"I don't think it is anything to do with ability so you have to look at the mental side of it. What cost us is that little bit of mental strength and the ones that stay will have to learn quickly.
"I missed out in the play-offs during my time as Wolves manager and we became stronger for it as we went up the next year."
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