AC Milan have seen a bid for Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez in excess of €20 million rejected according to ESPNsoccernet sources.
Tevez, 27, has been in exile in Buenos Aires since his public fall-out with Roberto Mancini in September after refusing to warm-up against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but is still keen to quit the club in the January transfer window.
Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani has flown to Manchester to negotiate with City after growing tired of waiting for their response to a loan offer with an option to buy at the end of the season and has made a new bid to take him on permanent deal.
However, City have rejected their offer and are holding out for the €35 million that they have always valued the striker at. That could be in the form of a lower initial fee with add-ons but the Premier League club insist the total deal must meet their valuation.
A source close to the transfer action told ESPNsoccernet: "Clearly clubs are appreciating that City mean business and there will be no loan. AC Milan have insisted all along it was a loan and then a deal in the summer, but there is now recognition from AC Milan that it has to be a sale or no deal.
"Whether it is now dead is up to AC Milan, but the feeling is that if AC Milan want the player, then they will have to increase their bid, and Inter and maybe even PSG are still lurking there and could outbid them."
Earlier, Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti appeared to concede defeat in the race to sign the Argentine. When asked if he believes Tevez will join AC rather than Inter, he told his club's official website: "I believe so. That's football."
Reports from Italy suggested that Inter were willing to take Tevez on loan for the remainder of the season with an option to buy him outright in the summer for €27million (£22.4m).