French club Marseille have told Chelsea they must pay £26.7m to finally land Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba.
Chelsea have had an £18m offer turned down but negotiations are continuing.
Marseille coach Jose Anigo said: "Drogba is still a long way away from Chelsea and I'm expecting him to report to our training camp on 26 July."
But he added: "If Chelsea fall in line with our president Christophe Bouchet's asking price, then we shall resign ourselves to letting Didier go."
The 25-year-old is under contract in France until 2008, but Anigo said: "There are some offers that you can't refuse. "
And Bouchet said: "Negotiations have begun between Chelsea representatives and our general manager Pape Diouf."
"But we felt their offer of £18m was insufficient and I refused."
Bouchet added: "But the situation is extremely complex and it's a real balancing act not only on the human side but also because of our financial state that has to be taken into account as well."
Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon had travelled to Marseille to discuss a deal for Drogba
And Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who was unimpressed by Hernan Crespo's late arrival for pre-season training, is known to be a fan of the forward.
"I see the qualities of power and speed," said Mourinho.
"Also his control on the first touch and the way he fights - he's a player who can achieve great success."
Drogba, who cost Marseille only £4m when he moved from Guingamp, scored 19 goals in the French league last season and 11 in the Uefa Cup.
Meanwhile Marseille coach Jose Anigo has revealed if Drogba leaves the French club will try and sign Ajax's Swedish international Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Anigo said: "That would be the dream of everybody.
"If Didier does leave, Ibrahimovic would be the type of player
that we would buy."