Manchester United and Liverpool have been dealt a blow in their alleged pursuit of Mateo Kovacic after Inter Milan's sporting director Piero Ausilio claimed that the midfielder is not for sale this summer.
The Daily Star reports how the Serie 'A' giants have already rejected offers from various big European clubs enquiring about the youngster's availability, but he looks set to remain at the San Siro next season as Inter refuse to enter into any negotiations.
Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal is starting to make waves in the transfer market having already completed big-money deals for Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera and England left-back Luke Shaw.
Van Gaal monitoring
The Dutchman is believed to also be interested in bringing the Croatia international to Old Trafford, but is facing an uphill struggle as Walter Mazzarri is desperate to keep the player in Italy for the new campaign.
Brendan Rodgers has also been mooted as an admirer of the talented 20-year-old, as he too looks to strengthen his first-team squad at Anfield ahead of Liverpool's return to the Champions League in 2014/15.
However, any chances of landing Kovacic look to be fading following the latest comments from Ausilio, who sounds determined not to cave in to demands from a growing list of potential suitors.
"Absolutely [he is not for sale]," exclaimed the Inter official. "In fact we have turned down various offers from big clubs."
Kovacic was one of the few positives to come from a disappointing season for Inter Milan last term, after the club finished in a lowly fifth place in Serie 'A', failing to qualify for the Champions League.
Champions League ambition
The Croatian's desire to play in Europe's elite club competition prompted rumours of a possible departure, but they've been swiftly dismissed by Ausilio even with increasing interest in the player.
His impressive form at the World Cup will have only added to his burgeoning reputation, but Kovacic was still unable to prevent his country from crashing out at the group stages following a third place finish behind Brazil and Mexico.
Corriere dello Sport believe the midfielder is valued at around €30 million, but even that might not be enough to tempt Inter Milan into selling to either Manchester United or Liverpool this summer.