Manchester United have been turned down by Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger after making an approach for the defender, according to reports.
Rudiger, 29, is one of United’s defensive targets when the transfer window opens in June, while the German’s contract at Stamford Bridge runs out at the end of the season.
The two parties are believed to have already held preliminary discussions about a possible deal for Rudiger at Old Trafford.
However, the Manchester Evening News is reporting that Rudiger is likely to reject United’s advances as he wishes to sign for a club who are certain to qualify for the Champions League next season.
United are currently three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham having played the same number of games but have a significantly worse goal difference.
The news will come as a big blow to United who are in desperate need of a top central defender with the team having conceded 44 goals in the Premier League already this season.
Last year, United signed Raphael Varane from Real Madrid but the Frenchman has struggled to stay in the team since arriving in Manchester with injuries resulting in him missing 15 matches this season.
Meanwhile Harry Maguire has endured a difficult campaign following a shorter summer break due to England’s run to the European Championship last year and injuries curtailing his form.
The likes of Eric Bailly and Phil Jones are out of favour and could be let go at the end of the season, which is why a move for Rudiger was fancied at Old Trafford.
In February, Rudiger spoke of his happiness at Chelsea but indicated his wage demands – thought to be £225,000-a-week – must be met if he is to stay in west London.
He told The Athletic: “I feel great here, I have always said it. I think the way I play you can see that I’m happy here. But there are also other people who have to make decisions.’