Manchester United's pursuit of Arsenal's Samir Nasri looks to be at an end after Sir Alex Ferguson said he thought the Frenchman had "agreed to go elsewhere".
Speaking in Boston as United begin their three-week tour of the United States, Ferguson was asked at a press conference about a player for whom his club are reported to have made an offer.
"Nasri, no. I don't think he's coming to United," said Ferguson. "I think he's agreed to go somewhere else. Maybe he has to stay at Arsenal too. That's a possibility."
Ferguson was guarded on a next signing to follow those of Ashley Young, David De Gea and Phil Jones, with midfield largely expected to be the next reinforced department following the retirement of Paul Scholes.
"How do you replace somebody like Paul Scholes? It's very difficult," said Ferguson of a player who is set to join his coaching staff after his testimonial.
"If you bracket four of the best midfield players in the world he'd be alongside Xavi and Iniesta and then you take your pick. In my mind he's one of the top four players in the world. How will we overcome it? Maybe the next few weeks will help us overcome it. Maybe somebody will emerge out of the youth team or one of the young players ermerge, and then we carry on."
Luka Modric, most likely headed for Chelsea, and Inter Milan's Wesley Sneijder are the midfield names also linked with a move to Old Trafford. Owen Hargreaves has taken his leave of the club and Darren Fletcher has missed the current tour, as his recovery from a virus that wrecked his 2010-11 season is still by no means complete.
United face New England Revolution on Wednesday, in a game that Ferguson promised he would not be taking lightly.