Chelsea midfielder Kevin de Bruyne has reportedly turned down the chance to join Aston Villa on loan next month, holding out for a Bundesliga return as his efforts to force through a Stamford Bridge exit intensify.
De Bruyne returned from a loan spell at Werder Bremen last summer to fight for regular first-team football at Chelsea, with things looking promising early in the campaign thanks to starts in their first two Premier League games.
The 22-year-old has largely been a peripheral figure since though, featuring in just eight matches under Jose Mourinho in all competitions.
That snub prompted a loan enquiry from Villa this week, but De Bruyne wants the lure of European football and a potential permanent move and quickly knocked back Paul Lambert's advances, according to The Telegraph.
Recent talks between Chelsea and De Bruyne's representatives have so far failed to produce a definitive answer over his future in January, although he is thought to be desperate for a return to Germany, with Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen showing interest in the promising playmaker.
Wolfsburg are the only Bundesliga club to make it clear that they would consider a permanent move, prepared to pay around £13m for De Bruyne's services as they look to rebuild for a concerted charge for Champions League qualification over the next three seasons.