City will not pay the £55,000 compensation fee they have been quoted for Willy Topp.

The Bantams are still keen to get the striker on board but they will not meet the figure demanded by his former club Universidad Catolica.

Joint chairman Mark Lawn said: "Willy's a good footballer and everybody who has seen him realises that.

"But I don't think he is worth that fee plus his pay package. We negotiated his wages on the assumption he was on a free and if we had to pay that sort of money, we'd have to renegotiate and I don't think Willy would accept it then.

"We've put a bid back in which we think is reasonable, bearing in mind this would be the first player we'd paid any money for since Andy Tod.

"But it's not dead in the water. We might get Willy back in January on a long-term loan."

Lawn claimed that he and co-owner Julian Rhodes were willing to pay for Topp themselves because Stuart McCall has used up his player budget.

He added: "There's money there but that is taken up with wages. There are some players here that are still on Championship wages.

"We are somewhere between the third and fifth highest wage bill in this league and Stuart's spent that money on his budget. There's none in the background.

"Willy Topp is above and beyond that but what we've told Stuart is that if we can find any quality players, Julian and I are willing to get our hands in our pockets again."