Portsmouth say that they have had a £4.5million bid for Middlesbrough midfielder Gary O'Neil rejected by their Premier League rivals.
The 25-year-old joined Boro from Pompey in the summer of 2007, but has long been linked with a return to Fratton Park.
Portsmouth executive chairman Peter Storrie told the club's official website: "We made what we thought to be a good offer for Gary, but unfortunately it was declined and we will not be increasing our bid.
"Gary is a player that manager Tony Adams and the team know well having been here since he was a youngster. He would have been a good addition to the squad."
Boro are adamant that they do not want to lose any of their present squad, with chief executive Keith Lamb having stated: "We again reiterate that no senior players will be leaving this football club during January.
"That is the end of the matter. Any ongoing media speculation is therefore meaningless and we will not continue to respond to it."
O'Neil has scored just twice in 47 appearances for the Teessiders to date.