Real Madrid are the favourites to sign Edinson Cavani after Napoli said Manchester City were refusing to pay the £54 million (€63 million) to activate his release clause.
Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis revealed managerless Real are the only club who have made a bid for the Uruguayan striker.
City have a long-standing interest in Cavani, who scored 38 times last season, but have already committed more than £50 million to bring in Fernandinho and Jesus Navas and are now targeting Malaga midfielder Isco.
And De Laurentiis hinted they wanted to send players to the Serie A club in part-exchange for the 26-year-old, rather than paying the sum outright.
Speaking at a press conference to officially announce the arrival of Rafa Benitez as Napoli manager, De Laurentiis said: "Manchester City have not the money to pay for Cavani. The Abu Dhabi (owners) have said they will never spend €63 million for Cavani. They say, 'We can give other things', but they are not in the interest of our club.
“My company never received a call. It is very difficult to pay the €63 million because Financial Fair Play is conditioning everybody.
"At this time, Real Madrid are the only club who have made a firm offer for Cavani. It is human, if Real Madrid call, to answer. He knows he has a clause and must decide."
Chelsea have also been linked with Cavani, who is currently representing his country in the Confederations Cup, but De Laurentiis suggested the London club have not been in contact with him.
Real, who are likely to sell Gonzalo Higuain, are looking for another striker.