Samuel Eto'o's hopes of a big-money move to the Premier League appear to be dwindling.
After Manchester City publicly ended their attempts to sign the Barcelona forward on a massive contract last Friday, neighbours United have now distanced themselves from offering Eto'o an exit from the Nou Camp as well.
It had been suggested the Red Devils were ready to offer Eto'o wages in the region of Â£150,000-a-week to bolster their striking options, memories still fresh of his opening goal against them in last season's Champions League final, but - while there will be no public statement on the speculation from Old Trafford - senior figures at United have distanced themselves from such talk.
Thoughts of a bid for the Cameroon star have already been rejected, with Sir Alex Ferguson happy to look elsewhere if, as is believed, he wants further attacking options despite the shock capture of Michael Owen.
It leaves Eto'o in a quandary given City made it perfectly clear on Friday their announcement was not a game of brinkmanship aimed at securing the marquee signing they are known to be keen on.
In demanding half an estimated Â£18million transfer fee City had agreed to pay Barcelona, Eto'o said he would remain in Catalonia for the final year of his contract before leaving for nothing.
Without a further intervention, the 28-year-old looks likely to do just that.
Not that such a scenario sits easily with Barcelona, who are keen to complete a deal with Valencia for David Villa but are seeking to offload Eto'o first.
Ironically, Villa's insistence on remaining in Spain, rather than join Chelsea as John Terry believed was probable in the spring is one of the reasons given for the England skipper's willingness to, at the very least, talk to the Eastlands outfit, who are due to leave for South Africa on Wednesday, 24 hours before United head to the Far East for a four-match tour.
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