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Salford City Reds owner Dr Marwan Koukash has been forced to admit defeat in his bid to sign Adrian Morley from Warrington Wolves.
Koukash wants a big-name signing to bolster the club's profile and also to add experience to a young Reds squad.
Morley fitted the bill, particularly as he hails from Salford, but Warrington want to retain the 35-year-old, formerly of Leeds Rhinos and Sydney Roosters.
Koukash insists however that he will not pay over the odds to bring fresh blood to Salford.
He told the Manchester Evening News: "Warrington came back to me and said they did not want Adrian to go. We have already started to look for alternatives.
"The priority is strengthening the squad and there could be developments over the next few days. We will not be held to ransom, though.
"Only players who are interested in being part of the rebuilding of Salford will be signed and not those seeking financial gains."