Neil Warnock has all but conceded in his efforts to sign Marko Grujic from Liverpool.
It looks like a summer wasted trying to get the Serbian back to CCS on loan and as a result has cost the Bluebirds potential other signings.
"Grujic looks like he will stay put," said Warnock.
"I think he would be better off here, but it is a contract issue. I understand his point of view."
Gruijic was Jurgen Klopp's first signing as Liverpool boss when he joined from Red Star Belgrade for £5.1m in January 2016. He has made eight substitute appearances in the Premier League.
"Liverpool have four competitions before Christmas and he can play in those without being named in the 25-man squad," added Warnock.
"I have missed out on a couple of targets waiting for him. It is disappointing as everything was agreed with Liverpool - but sometimes fate intervenes.
"We need a couple of midfielders and a striker. We are really short in midfield."
Warnock also commented on the rumours linking Troy Deeney and Alfred N'Diaye.
"Troy Deeney? - I read we offered £15m. That is ridiculous.
"It makes me smile really. We get calls from agents and I think: 'That will be in the newspapers tomorrow.'"
It seems that there was some mileage in the N'Diaye story.
"We have spoken to the club involved but I think the package is a bit beyond us," Warnock said.
N'Diaye signed a five year contract at Villareal in 2016 but played the end of the 16/17 season at Hull (getting relegated) and the 17/18 season at Wolves (getting promoted), both on loan.