Arsenal's hopes of signing Dynamo Kiev defender Aleksandar Dragovic have been dealt a significant blow after the Ukrainian club's manager Sergei Rebrov issued a hands-off warning to all interested parties ahead of the summer transfer window.
The former Tottenham Hotspur striker - now in charge at NSC Olimpiyskiy - was asked about the Austria international's future during his Europa League press conference in the build-up to his side's clash against Everton at Goodison Park on Thursday night.
Rebrov stated it was his intention to retain Dragovic's services beyond the 2014/15 campaign, despite the fact the 24-year-old has attracted admiring glances from the Premier League.
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Earlier this week it was reported by the Daily Mail that Arsene Wenger had sent Gunners scouts to run the rule over the talented centre-back, who has been touted as one of the brightest up-and-coming defenders in all of Europe.
Manchester United were also credited with an interest in Dragovic in the same report, with Louis van Gaal believed to be equally keen on luring the £15 million-rated star to Old Trafford at the end of the season.
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The only question mark the Red Devils have is about the Austrian's level of consistency, but given the poor performances produced by the majority of Van Gaal's defensive department this season it wouldn't come as a surprise to see them make a bid for his services.
However, the only problem appears to be Rebrov's desire to keep Dragovic, after talking up the important role that the stopper plays in his team.
"You are asking about one of the best players in my team and I don't want to lose this player," he stated firmly in front of the gathered media on Merseyside on Wednesday. "He is a top-class player and I hope he will stay with us."
"I don't want to lose this player," - Sergei Rebrov
Rebrov might try to deter Dragovic from making a high-profile move to the Premier League by recounting his own ill-fated spell playing in England's top-flight with Spurs and West Ham United.
The 40-year-old spent five years at White Hart Lane between 2000 and 2004, arriving from Dynamo Kiev in an £11 million deal with a big reputation after scoring goals for fun in the Ukrainian Premier League.
However, Rebrov failed to replicate his prolific form after managing just 15 goals in 75 appearances for Tottenham. Things didn't get much better for him at Upton Park either, with a paltry return of two goals in 33 games for the Hammers.
After hanging up his boots in 2009 the former Spurs flop is now trying to forge a successful career in management, and will be looking to enhance his reputation as a coach further by orchestrating a memorable victory over Everton in the Europa League last 16, starting with tonight's first leg clash at Goodison Park.
Football fans: Does Aleksandar Dragovic have what it takes to be a success in the Premier League? Who do you think he's more likely to sign for - Arsenal or Manchester United? Share your thoughts below...
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