Lille have insisted that Liverpool and Arsenal target Eden Hazard is not for sale.
The 20-year-old has been the subject of interest from a number of top European clubs in recent months thanks to his dazzling displays in Ligue 1, but the Lille board maintain he won't be leaving the club just yet.
Lille’s sporting director Frederic Paquet is clearly growing tired of the rumours linking his prized asset with a move elsewhere - namely to Liverpool or Arsenal - and has again moved to quash any speculation that Hazard will leave in the summer.
“If we believe Eden has contacted officially then we’ll be offended," he told Insidefutbol.com. “Things are not done in this way.
“For three years he’s been liked by the major European clubs, but no one has put him up for sale.”
Liverpool and Arsenal have, though, been respectful of the wishes of the French club and a prepared to hold fire over potential bids until the playmaker becomes available.
Both Liverpool and Arsenal are known to interested in acquiring Hazard, with Damien Comolli and Arsene Wenger admitting their admiration of the player last month.
"We want a forward because we lack pace and penetration on the flanks," said Liverpool supremo, Comolli, on French television.
"[Lille attacker] Gervinho and Hazard are super players but I know the Lille board well and they won't sell in January."
Likewise, Wenger has confirmed his interest in Belgium international but admitted he did not want to disrupt the Ligue 1 club.
"He's a player that I have followed for some time, but I do not want to unsettle Lille now," explained the Arsenal boss.
"When he is available for transfer, we will see if there is the possibility to sign him."
Dubbed the 'next Samir Nasri' in France, it is no wonder that Liverpool and Arsenal are monitoring his progress.
Valued at €18 million, Hazard has been in the Lille first team for over three years - quite a feat at his age - and has been instrumental in their ascent to the top of the table this season.
He would be an exciting option for either Liverpool or Arsenal - with the former keen to emulate the latter by attracting Europe's best young talent to Anfield.
Liverpool owners New England Sports Ventures have made it their aim to develop a younger playing squad and Comolli has been tasked with bringing precocious youngsters to the club.
However, Liverpool will do well to beat the Gunners to Hazard, who is thought to favour a move to the Emirates Stadium.
"As I said many top managers and clubs are interested in Eden. Arsenal have a lot of French players, and Eden is from Belgium, so language would not be a problem," a source close to the player told Sport.co.uk.
"He is a talented young player like many Arsenal player, but we will have to wait and see.”
Another source told the Daily Mail: “There is even something of Sami Nasri about him. He can play on either flank or through the middle, and he has great pace and technique. Arsenal would suit him perfectly.”
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