Liverpool and Manchester United face losing out to Barcelona or Real Madrid in their attempts to sign Javi Martinez, according to talkSPORT.
The Spanish midfielder has played a major role in Athletic Bilbao's cup success this season, which has seen them installed as favourites to win the Europa League, while they face Barca in the Copa del Rey final in May.
Both Liverpool and United have been linked with Martinez, however the finical power of the La Liga pair, who will go head-to-head for domestic and European honours in the coming weeks, could be their trump card in landing the 23-year-old.
A fee in the region of £40 million has been mentioned as a potential asking price for Martinez, a valuation that could, given the English pair's recent spending, count them out of the running.
Kenny Dalglish's Liverpool have spend in excess of £100 million in the past 14 months, with the likes of Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez and Stewart Downing among their extravagant purchases.
United have made similar ventures in the transfer window of late, signing three players in the summer in the form of Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David de Gea for a combined fee in excess of £50 million.
Those respective spending sprees, coupled with the large fee being touted for Martinez, means both Liverpool and United are looking at missing out on one of their prime targets.