Sunderland have had their hopes of landing Egyptian star Ahmed Al-Muhammadi dashed after his club ENPPI rejected their approach.
Black Cats manager Steve Bruce is reportedly a big fan of the winger but wanted to take the player on an initial one-year loan.
Bruce's cautious approach over the bid is thought to have been caused by his negative dealings with fellow Egypt ace Amr Zaki at Wigan last season.
However ENPPI are thought to be holding out for a permanent sale and have dismissed Sunderland's approach out of hand.
"ENPPI can confirm that the offer from Sunderland was not at a satisfactory level and not up to scratch," a statement read on the club's official website.
"To take the player on loan for the rest of the season is completely unacceptable, considering the name and the quality of the player.
"We saw a tribute to the player in the last few days by the manager Steve Bruce, but apparently, he is affected by his unpleasant experience with Amr Zaki, and that's why he was hesitating to complete the Al-Muhammadi deal.
"Al-Muhammadi is a player of a high calibre who doesn't need to prove his worth yet again."
However the club hinted that the Egyptian international, who also interested Blackburn last season, could be allowed to leave in the winter transfer window.
"Al-Muhammadi will be permitted to move to Europe in the winter transfer period in January, provided the satisfactory valuation can be met."