Manchester United have been dealt a decisive blow in their pursuit of Welsey Sneijder, with Inter Milan insisting that the playmaker will stay in Italy this month.
Sneijder was very strongly connected to a move to Old Trafford in the summer, but a deal never materialised, with Sir Alex Ferguson continually insisting that the club were not interested in the Holland international.
And now, as the winter transfer window enters the second half, speculation is once again surrounding a possible move to United for Sneijder, but Inter president Massimo Moratti insists no such agreement will be discussed.
"He will stay at Inter," he told Sky Sport24, when asked last night to give a hint over Sneijder's future.
The Italian outfit have been struggling somewhat in the Serie A this season, though they have recovered from a poor start to their campaign to maintain a position of fifth in the table. Champions League qualification is within reach, but the side are relying heavily on Udinese, AC Milan and Juventus to falter if they hope to qualify for Europe next season.
United have been on the lookout for a creative midfielder for some time, and the club have gone so far as to call Paul Scholes out of retirement as they search for more support in the middle of the pitch.
Piling injuries haven't helped the English giants as they aim to take top spot in the Premier League table from cross town rivals Manchester City, and while United always denied contact with Sneijder, reports claimed that Ferguson may soften to the star's wage demands as the club become more desperate to show they're still the best in the country.
One of the reasons that some thought Sneijder might make the move to United was to free up cash at Inter for the purchase of Carlo Tevez.
The club are currently at loggerheads with Manchester City over the sale of Tevez, with a fee in the region of £20.7 million said to be on offer to the big spenders.
But with reports claiming the money won't be enough to tempt Roberto Mancini, Moratti responded: "I don't know if City have refused our offer for Tevez.
"We would have to evaluate if it's worth it for us to continue in the deal [if we are refused]. Tevez is a great player but we have to do things sensibly."
Should City push the price up to purchase Tevez, Inter may have to offload some of their more expensive players if they hope to land the wantaway striker.
And they could be willing to allow Sneijder to go for less than his £35 million summer asking price.