Manchester United and Arsenal have been warned off making a bid for Lars Bender by Bayer Leverkusen chief executive Wolfgang Holzhauser.
The German international midfielder was linked with a move to Old Trafford just two days ago, with the Daily Mail reporting that Red Devils scouts have watched the player on a number of occasions.
“Quite simply, Lars is unsellable. After working so hard to put together a good team, the last thing we intend doing is allowing it to be weakened,” said Holzhauser.
“That was our position when there was interest in Andre Schurrle in the summer, and it applies now with Lars.”
The hands-off warning is described as a blow to Ferguson in the report, with the Manchester United chief eyeing the player as someone to strengthen his side in the central midfield position.
Shinji Kagawa was drafted in during the summer transfer window as more of an attacking threat for Manchester United, but Bender’s style-of-play would be more suited to a defensive-minded role in the Premier League.
For Arsenal, Bender would fit perfectly into the 4-3-3 formation utilised by Wenger at the Emirates Stadium, with the German an ideal replacement for Alex Song, who left for Barcelona in the summer transfer window.
Mikel Arteta has performed well in the holding positon that Bender would fill in north London, although the Spaniard is far from renowned for his tough-tackling nature.
Both sides appear set to miss out on the player however, and even though the report claims an offer in excess of £30 million would be difficult to reject, Leverkusen appear unwilling to do any kind of deal.