Manchester United have suffered a potentially decisive blow in their attempts to sign Leighton Baines after Everton boss Roberto Martinez admitted the club are not under financial pressure to sell the England full-back.
United had two bids rejected for Baines in the summer transfer window and are expected to make the defender their primary target in the New Year despite manager David Moyes playing down the club's need for new signings.
And any hopes United had of making the 29 year old a marque January signing have been damaged by the news that Everton don't have to compromise the future of Baines in order to balance the books.
"If I want a player I need to match the valuation to then put the other club and the player in a situation to make a decision," Martinez told the Sunday Mirror.
"We have never been in a situation where the valuation has been matched with Leighton.
"As a club we don't need the money. We don't need to balance the books and that is a situation we wanted to have - to make football decisions, not financial decisions.
"We don't want to sell Leighton. When you are in a position when you have to bring money then are relying on what you can sell. We are not in that position.
"We're not in talks with him about a deal. We don't have to say it publicly but nobody is for sale."
Baines is currently out with a toe injury and is expected to miss the remainder of the club's festive schedule and not play again until the New Year.
And coupled with Everton not having a definitive valuation of Baines means United, despite their financial strength, might not be able to convinced the Toffees to part with their prized asset.
United made Marouane Fellaini their only signing of the summer and with Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all ahead of them in the Premier League table United boss Moyes is under pressure to sign some new faces to reignite the club's title challenge.