Everton have told the BBC they are contemplating the sale of teenage striker Wayne Rooney.
Goodison Park director Paul Gregg admitted it was "incredibly sad" that the club had to even think about offloading their 18-year-old superstar.
"I wish we could persuade him to stay. It's sad other forces make decisions for us," Gregg told Radio Five Live.
"This is a home-bred talent who has not had the chance to mature. We've not had the full benefit of his talent yet."
Gregg added: "He's a big ambassador for Everton Football Club, so of course we'd like to see him stay.
"I sincerely hope he will still be here when the season kicks off but unfortunately it may be other forces which make the decision for us."
Everton owner Bill Kenwright admitted on Monday the sale of Rooney would "revitalise" the club's finances.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid have all been linked with the striker, who scored four goals for England at Euro 2004.