Jose Mourinho is facing more heartache in the transfer market with Real Madrid winger Mateo Kovacic flat-out rejecting a summer move to Manchester United.
According to Spanish newspaper Marca, the Croatia international is keen to quit the Bernabeu over a lack of first-team opportunities, but would rather stay if the alternative means playing under the current management at Old Trafford.
United were prepared to pay around €60million (£54m) for Kovacic, but they have since been told not to waste their time making an offer as he has no interest in playing under Mourinho.
Kovacic, 24, does not have a personal problem with Mourinho but doubts he can flourish in the pragmatic system he has instilled during his two years at the club. He would prefer a move to somewhere with a more fluent style, such as Bayern Munich.
The revelation will come as a further blow to the Portuguese tactician, who has taken every chance to lament his lack of manpower and demanded at least two signings before the transfer window closes.
Manchester United have already invested heavily in midfielder Fred this summer while the huge wages given to Alexis Sanchez in January also absorbed a significant amount of the budget.
As a result, the club are digging in their heels over releasing more transfer funds and have told Mourinho to deliver a credible Premier League title challenge with the players he has.
Kovacic’s rejection will place further scrutiny on Mourinho’s man-management skills as well. The former Chelsea boss is currently at loggerheads with Anthony Martial over his decision to leave United’s US tour to attend the birth of his son and then not immediately return to rejoin the squad.
Mourinho called on Martial to return to America after his partner Melanie Da Cruz gave birth to their baby, Swan, but he instead remained in France for eight days and is facing a potential fine of £180,000.
The player responded on Wednesday by tweeting: ‘Thank you all for your posts. My little Swan is fine, for the mom it was harder but thanks to God she’s better now.
‘Sorry but my family will always come first… Back tomorrow in Manchester.’