AC Milan have turned down a world record offer for a defender from Paris St-Germain for Thiago Silva.
Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi says the cash-rich Ligue 1 side made a bid of nearly €46m (£37.5m) for the 27-year-old Brazil international centre-back.
“We had no intention of selling Silva,” he told TV channel SportItalia.
Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand is still the world’s most expensive defender after his £33.1m move from Leeds 10 years ago.
The Qatar Investment Authority bought a 70% stake in PSG last year and has promised to give coach Carlo Ancelotti transfer funds.
Silva is currently under contract with the Rossoneri until June 2016, and his agent Paolo Tonietto has said that Milan need to offer him a new deal if he is to remain with the Italian club.
Berlusconi suggested that the club are willing to give Thiago, who earns a reported €4m (£3.25m) a year, a contract extension.
“Thiago Silva is a great man and we can find an easy solution,” Berlusconi said.
“We hope to have the best defence next season.”
Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani has been in talks this week with PSG over the possible sale of Silva but Berlusconi said that the offer was rejected because they would not have been able to find a suitable replacement.
“They made us a very interesting offer, close to €46m,” Berlusconi said.
“We considered the possibility (to sell) and we looked at the central defenders that could replace Thiago Silva but we haven’t found an adequate player.
“The old heart of Silvio Berlusconi has allowed us to reject this offer.”
PSG sporting director Leonardo was disappointed that he was unable to reach an agreement with his former club for Silva, who joined Milan from Fluminense in December 2008 in a deal worth €10m (then £8.4m).
“We thought the negotiations would be successful,” Leonardo told Sky Italia.
“However, in order for that to happen, you need the wish of the two clubs to complete a deal.”
Leonardo, who has played for and coached Milan, said that the Serie A club had been upfront in their negotiations.
“Milan seemed willing but then there were certain things that blocked the situation. This can happen in football and I cannot accuse Galliani of anything – he remains my great teacher,” he said.
“Having gone as far as we did in the negotiation, we decided to pull out.”
Leonardo, 42, also said that PSG were only interested in Silva and had made no inquiry for Ibrahimovic.
“I can assure everyone that we never spoke about Ibrahimovic,” Leonardo said.
Top 10 most expensive defenders
1 – Rio Ferdinand £33.1m (Leeds United to Manchester United, 2002)
2 – Fabio Coentrao £27m (Benfica to Real Madrid, 2011)
3 – Pepe £25m (Porto to Real Madrid, 2007)
4 – Daniel Alves £23.5m (Sevilla to Barcelona, 2008)
5 – Dmytro Chygrynskiy £22.5m (Shakhtar Donetsk to Barcelona, 2009)
=6 – Joleon Lescott £22m (Everton to Manchester City, 2009)
=6 – Lilian Thuram £22m (Parma to Juventus, 2001)
8 – David Luiz £21.3 (Benfica to Chelsea, 2011)
9 – Alessandro Nesta £21m (Lazio to AC Milan, 2002)
10 – Ricardo Carvalho £20m (Porto to Chelsea, 2004)