Manchester United and Liverpool mayhave been dealt a fatal blow in the race to sign Mateo Kovacic, with the player's agent having moved to rule out the possibility that he could leave Inter Milan in the near future.
Both aforementioned Premier League outfits have been linked with Kovacic of late, with reports from this afternoon having suggested that the two clubs were now the favourites to acquire his signature.
However, while Manchester United and Liverpool may indeed harbour hopes of luring him to the Premier League, it appears as if Kovavic is destined to remain in Serie A beyond the summer.
"Mateo will remain at Inter, there is no doubt. He wants to stay and the club wants to keep him, so he will not move," agent Nikky Vuksan said in an interview emanating from Italy that was quoted by talkSPORT.
A talented 20-year-old, Kovacic - who will surely be delighted to have this week been included in Croatia's provisional 30-man squad for the upcoming World Cup - joined Inter from
Prva HNL champions Dinamo Zagreb during the summer of 2013 and has largely performed well at the San Siro.
While Vuksan's comments seem rather firm, it still wouldn't be a particular surprise to see Manchester United and Liverpool pursue Kovacic regardless, with both clubs obviously very keen to make additions to their respective squads this summer.
Indeed, the next transfer window is set to be a significant one for both clubs, with Liverpool looking to sustain the incredibly swift progress they have made in recent months and rivals Manchester United looking to ensure they are able to avoid a repeat of what was a dire 2013/14 campaign.
It could also be interesting to see if a strong World Cup performance from the Croatian could alter such a resolute stance.