After moves to Arsenal or Tottenham failed to materialise for Bolton's star defender this summer, Gary Cahill has admitted it is still his ambition to play regular European football at club level reports talkSPORT.
The 25-year-old turned in two very assured England performances in the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales, further enhancing his reputation as one of the country's brightest homegrown talents.
As speculation linking both Tottenham and Arsenal with renewed attempts to sign the player in January continues to gather pace, Cahill's comments citing his desire to test himself in Europe could be seen as a subtle nod in the direction of the leading Barclays Premier League suitors.
"As a professional footballer in general you want to strive and be the best you can," confirmed Cahill. "And try to get to the highest level you can.
"Playing European football would be fantastic but as it is at the minute I'm not doing that so all I can do is put my performances in for Bolton Wanderers."
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger made an offer for Cahill earlier in the summer, but failed to meet Bolton's £17million valuation, instead opting to strengthen Arsenal's defence with the addition of German international Per Mertesacker who moved to the Emirates Stadium for an undisclosed fee, believed to be in the region of £8million.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp also confirmed Tottenham made a deadline day bid to bring Cahill to White Hart Lane, but also failed to meet Bolton's valuation of the player.
Despite reports suggesting he will be offered a new and improved deal at the Reebok Stadium, Trotters boss Owen Coyle expects Cahill to move on at the end of the season, and backed him to make it to the very top.
"Gary is ambitious and wants to play at the highest level of the game, and I am totally understanding of this," Coyle explained. "Now, we are in the best league in the world, that goes without saying, and the next step to that is the Champions League.
"There is no doubt that Gary, I think, in time would love to be part of an elite club, and I think he is more than capable of playing for any of them.
"I expected Gary to go in the summer to an elite club, that was my belief, because of the quality I know he has."