TOTTENHAM have failed in their latest attempt to persuade Schalke to let Germany midfielder Lewis Holtby join them and ease their midfield injury concerns.
Spurs have a deal in place for Holtby, who has an English father, to join them in the summer on a free transfer when his contract expires.
But an injury to central midfielder Sandro has increased their need for cover and prompted them to make Schalke an offer to let the 22-year-old leave this month.
The Bundesliga club’s general manager Horst Heldt said Tottenham would have to raise their bid if they wanted to accelerate the move, but left the door open for further negotiations.
“Spurs have increased their offer for Holtby, but only slightly,” he added. “It remains unacceptable. We will have to wait and see. Feasibility is what it’s about, not wishes.”
Sandro is likely to miss the rest of the season following knee surgery, while his replacement, Scott Parker, has a chequered injury record.
Manager Andre Villas-Boas can scarcely afford further casualties in midfield or attack as he looks to lead Tottenham back into the Champions League in his first term.
Emmanuel Adebayor’s absence on international duty has left Jermain Defoe as his only striker, although Clint Dempsey proved his penalty-box value with the equaliser against Manchester United on Sunday.