The 40-year-old has previously said he is chasing a player who he believes would be a major coup for the club.
But with the man in question also having options in the Championship, Keates says he is having to be patient.
“There is still a possibility we could bring someone in,” the boss said.
“Last week I did think ‘Yes’, I thought we were about 80 per cent there.
“But it’s still a waiting game for us.
“If you’re talking to a player who has got a chance of joining a Championship team – they have to consider that, there is a chance we won’t be top of their list.
“It’s someone I know and without giving too much away it’s someone I have a good relationship with. All being well that can play a part in it.”
Any free agent signed now will have missed the opening two months of the campaign as well as pre-season. But Keates doesn’t think that’s an issue with the player he is talking too.
“I know the player and I know what he’s about, he is a professional,” the boss added.
“I’d go as far to say there won’t be a better professional in the country.”
Meanwhile, Keates has told his team to rediscover their cutting edge against Bristol Rovers today.
The Saddlers have created a host of chances in their last few games without scoring.
And that has led to them slipping to defeat against Accrington Stanley before being held to a goalless draw by Shrewsbury.
But Keates’ says the players have worked hard in training to re-find their scoring touch.
“We have got to get back at it,” he said.
“You look at the last few games, maybe times we have sent balls to the near post when the player is at the back post.
“One or two things also haven’t fallen our way.
“But we have to make sure we do better with the opportunities we do have.
“Minimum the keeper makes a save, a very good save at that.
“Or it goes past him and hits the back of the net.
“We’ve worked hard in training, you can replicate things on the training field.
“But often, Monday to Friday – everything goes well.
“It’s about getting it right in that split second on a Saturday.”