Citroen admitted that its bid to sign Sebastien Ogier for the 2018 WRC season could not match what other rivals were offering to the Frenchman.
Five-time WRC champion Ogier was originally a Citroen protege but left the team at the end of the 2011 season amid a fractious relationship with teammate Sebastien Loeb.
Earlier this season, Citroen declared it was determined to bring Ogier back for 2018, but it has recently emerged that he is choosing between staying at M-Sport or retiring from rallying.
Citroen team principal Yves Matton said his firm had tried to sign Ogier but failed, with negotiations ceasing earlier in November.
"We made an offer, but it was not at the right level," said Matton. "We were not able to follow the offers he received."
Matton added that he hoped Ogier would not retire as he remains a "very good value" for WRC.
"For the championship, it's very good value to have him," he said. "I hope he will be part of it next season."
Ogier's future is expected to be known by the end of November.
"I'm not playing games or teasing, I don't like to keep people waiting for this news, but there is still no announcement," Ogier said in Australia last weekend.
"I am 99 percent decided, but what I can say is the decision is to stop or to stay with my current team."
Citroen currently has Kris Meeke, Craig Breen, Stephane Lefebvre and Khalid Al-Qassimi under contract for 2018, and has been discussing a part-time programme for Loeb.