Liverpool's hopes of landing Fernando Torres have been dealt a blow following news that Atletico Madrid's attempt to sign a replacement has been rejected.
Atletico officials have targeted Villarreal striker Diego Forlan as the man to fill club captain Torres' shoes should he depart this summer.
But Villarreal have turned down a 17million euro approach for the Uruguayan hitman, who has consistently been one of the most lethal marksmen in La Liga following his move from Manchester United three years ago.
"Villarreal does not want to bother negotiating for Forlan," club director Jose Manuel Llaneza is quoted as telling Marca.
"His value is 23 million euros."
Forlan, 28, had also been interesting Liverpool, but Reds boss Rafael Benitez is believed to favour Torres.
The 23-year-old Spain international has been linked with moves to Anfield, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in recent seasons.
Meanwhile, Benitez has reportedly offered unwanted France international striker Djibril Cisse to Atletico as a potential makeweight in his efforts to land Torres.
Injury-plagued Cisse is surplus to requirements at Anfield following his season-long loan at Marseille.