The prospect Dimitar Berbatov leaving Manchester United to return to former club Bayer Leverkusen this summer has gone up in smoke after the Bundesliga side ruled out a move for the Bulgarian.
Berbatov's future at OId Trafford remains in the balance following a season of frustration for the 31-year-old, who made only five starts in the Premier League.
The former Tottenham striker had been the league's joint top goalscorer during the previous campaign, but has since fallen behind Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck in Sir Alex Ferguson's selection order.
A return to Leverkusen during the summer transfer window had been touted for Berbatov, as the German side strive to reinforce their forward ranks.
But, as much as Leverkusen would love to resign Berbatov, the United striker's valuation is too high for his former club, and they will instead pursue alternative targets.
"We are looking to find a striker, one that works well alongside Stefan Kiessling," chief executive Wolfgang Holzhauer told the Rheinische Post
"However, the return of Berbatov is not an option for us. We are still on good terms with him, but he would only be an option if he was available on a free transfer."
Berbatov scored 91 goals in 201 appearances for Leverkusen before leaving for Spurs in the summer of 2006.