EmmanuelAdebayor was offered to Manchester United after negotiations with Manchester City over a £25million move from Arsenal stalled.
The striker is thought to be demanding £170,000 a week but City have played hardball on wages after establishing that they are the only bidders.
They remain confident Adebayor will accept a significantly lower offer and sign today after being granted clearance for a work permit last night.
But representatives of the Togo centre forward may have made him unpopular with fans before even sealing a deal by trying to drum up a bid from bitter rivals United.
Adebayor was told by Arsenal to find a new club after falling out of favour with team-mates and fans alike.
His camp expected considerable interest after he was courted by AC Milan last summer, but when City emerged as the only serious bidders their hand was weakened.
In a desperate attempt to make Adebayor's demand for more than double his Arsenal wage realistic, it is thought he was hawked around to some of Europe's biggest clubs.
United, among those targeted, rejected the chance to bid and attempts to push the 25-year-old to the very top of City's - and the Barclays Premier League's - earning table look doomed.
As do any efforts to transform a reputation which has become tarnished at Arsenal.
Adebayor has become known as a demanding player and only a year ago signed a new £80,000-aweek deal at the Emirates Stadium.
That increase followed a long and drawn-out flirtation with Milan which turned the Arsenal fans against him.
He followed that with a return of only 10 league goals and was perceived by supporters to have lost his dedication to the cause in a difficult season.
Adebayor is also thought to have become a disruptive influence in the Arsenal dressing room, but City manager Mark Hughes is still keen to sign him.
The Eastlands club may have already paid large sums from Gareth Barry, Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez this summer but showed, during the Samuel Eto'o saga, that they will not be used as a bargaining tool.
That stance reinforced their decision to hold firm with Adebayor over wages as he will still enjoy a considerable pay rise to join a team who are showing great ambition.
Adebayor will be the last attacking part of the jigsaw for Hughes, who will then turn his attentions to defence.
City are preparing a massive £20m bid for Everton centre back Joleon Lescott and he is expected to hand in a transfer request shortly to get the transfer moving.
The England defender is rated a key man by manager David Moyes, who will not let him go without a fight.
However, should the 26-year-old force a move, Moyes will turn to Wigan's Austria defender Paul Scharner, who would be keen on a move to a bigger club.