Hull City manager Steve Bruce fears Robert Koren will leave amid mounting speculation he is about to be re-united with Nigel Pearson at Leicester City.
Foxes boss and former Tigers manager Pearson was linked with Koren in January and the 31-year-old midfielder has a buy-out deal in his contract.
"We've opened up negotiations with Robert and we've spoke to his agent," Bruce said. "I hope to keep him.
"But he has a buy-out clause. There's a problem there for us."
Koren is entering the final year of his Tigers contract and the buy-out figure is believed to be £500,000.
And although Bruce had said he was hopeful of keeping Koren, he is now not so confident.
Bruce added: "If a club comes in with the value then we're essentially powerless and that's unfortunate.
"If someone matches that price and he wants to go, then that's that."