Athletic Bilbao have turned down a €36m (£29m) bid from Manchester United for midfielder Ander Herrera, the Spanish club confirmed.
United were close to signing the Spanish talent last summer, with a number of reports even suggesting a deal was completed on transfer deadline day.
However, the transfer collapsed because the two clubs could not agree a fee – with United refusing to meet his €36m release clause.
Reports in Spain earlier this week claimed United have renewed their efforts to sign Herrera and they have finally agreed to meet his €36m release clause – with the deal expected to be announced before the end of the week.
Herrera flew to England on Tuesday and he visited Manchester United's training ground, Carrington, on Wednesday alongside his father and his agent after farewells to his Bilbao team-mates.
Furthermore, he has already agreed personal terms and undergone a medical with his new club.
However, the deal looks set to become another soap opera after Bilbao announced they have turned down United's initial bid for Herrera, even though the Premier League giants have met his €36m release clause.
"Athletic Club wishes to report that this week we have rejected an offer from Manchester United FC, estimated at 36 million euros, to transfer the federation and economic rights of the player Ander Herrera," the Spanish club confirmed on its official website.
Technically, according to the Spanish regulations, the buy-out clause money has to be provided by Ander Herrera himself, rather than Manchester United, as the player mut buy out his own contract in order to leaver.
United must act quickly to unblock the negotiations as Herrera's current €36m release clause will rise to €40m on 1 July.