Watmore is averaging a goal nearly every 90 minutes since signing on a short-term deal as a free agent in November, having endured three seasons plagued by injury at Sunderland.
Middlesbrough have been keen to extend his stay beyond mid-January and Warnock insists the players wants to stay… but that the club’s offer is “not acceptable to his representatives”.
Championship clubs are on alert to what happens next – and Stoke are in the market for a front man after losing Tyrese Campbell to injury.
“They’ve been speaking behind the scenes and I’ve had a quiet chat with one or two people involved as well,” Warnock said in his press conference today.
“I think both parties know where we are and it’s just really down to Duncan now. He’s told me he wants to stay and he’s loving it here in the last couple of weeks when it’s been brought up.
“But there’s nothing else new, other than the two parties talking more.
“I think the talking is finished now, as far as I’m concerned. He’ll either sign or he won’t.
“There’s a contract there on the table for him, but it’s not acceptable to his representatives at this moment. So it’s about negotiating now. The Birmingham game (on January 16) is his last game and what will be will be.”
Watmore grew up in Cheshire and signed for Sunderland from Altrincham in 2013.
He was a popular figure at the Stadium of Light but his stay was derailed by a cruciate knee ligament injury in late 2016 and he only made 44 appearances over the next three campaigns.
TeessideLive explain: “To sign for Boro Watmore took a big pay cut, such were his circumstances of needing to prove himself again after playing so little football since his first knee injury.
“But having done so, his representatives do want to see Boro up their offer to the 26-year-old to at least bring him in-line with his teammates.”
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Warnock, however, feels the focus should be more on the football than the money.
He said: “I don’t worry about it. I just get on with it and what will be, will be.
“I’ve done all I can do. But you’ve got more to worry about than just one player as a manager. I’ve got to worry about 20 – well, I wish it was 20, it’s more like 18 at the minute.
“In Duncan’s case, I don’t think money is important with the last couple of years he’s had.
“He should be wanting to stay for the right reasons and he’s a sensible lad, so I don’t think he’ll let people put him off altogether.”