Nice have ended their attempts to sign Manchester United outcast Memphis Depay during the January transfer window, admitting they cannot afford the Netherlands international.
Depay, 22, was not named in the United squad since the end of November having failed to start a single game for Jose Mourinho this season.
Signed from PSV Eindhoven for a reported fee of £25m in the summer of 2015, the winger now admits he needs more game time. Speaking at a press conference in December, Mourinho said he will allow players who do not figure in his first-team plans to leave the club during the winter window, but ruled out anyone other than third choice goalkeeper Sam Johnstone leaving on loan.
United have already rejected a bid from West Brom for another player frozen out of the first-team in Morgan Schneiderlin, with United seemingly prepared to stand firm on their valuations of their own players.
Nice, who currently lead Ligue 1 at the half-way point, had been hopeful of securing a deal for Depay, suggesting their enquiry had been over a loan move.
"We looked at him, like a lot of clubs have, but it is extremely complicated... It is a situation which is out of our financial reach," Jean Pierre Rivere told French radio station RMC.
"You have a club that bought him for a certain amount that wants to sell him. When we looked at Depay, it was in another way, which is not possible today.
"He was bought very expensively by Manchester United, they want to possibly sell him and we cannot compete in this sort of situation."
Like Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin is also in line to leave Old Trafford after just 18 months having played just 11 minutes of league football this season, but only if United receive a satisfactory offer.
"If he's not playing regular I have no right to tell a player that wants to be happy you're going nowhere," said Mourinho, according to the Manchester Evening News. "So my answer was if the offer is right and our board thinks the offer is a good offer in relation to a very good player like Morgan I would not stop him to go."