Manchester United have reportedly cooled their interest in Dinamo Zagreb teenager Mateo Kovacic after being quoted £10million for the playmaker.
United have been linked with the 17-year-old for several months, while Arsenal and Juventus have also shown interest in the player, who has already been compared to Lionel Messi.
But according to Goal.com, United have cooled their interest in the starlet after being told he would cost £10m.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson was considering a January bid for the youngster, but at executive level, the club are said to be unwilling to sanction such a bid for an unproven player.
A source told the website: "Sir Alex has had scouts watching Kovacic regularly and really likes him, but it now seems they won't pay the money to make an acceptable bid."
The club refusing to open the cheque book for a player who is widely seen as one of the most promising teenager in Europe will lead to concerns that the owners, the Glazer family, are reluctant to back Ferguson in the transfer market.
Ferguson is thought to be preparing a summer bid for Tottenham playmaker Luka Modric, who is the Scot's top transfer target, but whether he will be able to compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City remains to be seen.
Spurs rejected a £40m bid for Modric last summer and it is thought his transfer fee could be as high as £50m at the end of the season.
Tottenham and Manchester City are now said to be leading the race to sign Kovacic, with his agent, Marcel Kacinari, holding talks with City officials last month.
Speaking last month, Kovacic told reporters: "I am honoured to be linked to clubs like Juventus and Manchester United. My day will come."