Lionel Messi will not be joining Inter Milan as the Serie A side's financial situation means they must sell before they can buy, according to sporting director Piero Ausilio.
Messi rocked Barcelona last week when he informed them of his desire to leave the club, with his contract containing a clause that would have allowed him to end his stay at the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.
While that clause is said to have expired at the end of May, Messi is adamant it is still valid because the season was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speculation has run wild about his next move ever since the news came to light and most agreed the likeliest destinations were Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter, who had been tentatively linked with Messi in previous months.
But Ausilio seems adamant that Inter are simply not in a strong enough position financially to be able to pull off such a deal.
"There is nothing between Messi and Inter," he told Sky Sport Italia. "I don't know where these thoughts came from.
"There is no team that does not want such a player, but the reality is different. Ours is that of a careful and prudent market, focusing above all on sales.
"We know what we have to do and, through the exits, we will have to be able to finance the income to improve the team.
"At the international level, I don't see big movements. We know our possibilities and we don't have to specify our strategies every day.
"We want to improve our team, but we know our difficulties. To date we have limited resources that we can only improve through the market."
To that end, Inter apparently had to admit defeat in their pursuit of sought-after Brescia midfield Sandro Tonali, who appears destined for bitter rivals Milan in a deal which could be worth €30million.
"I can't say I had Tonali in my hands as I've never started a real negotiation with Brescia," Ausilio added. "Tonali is a good player, but at the moment Inter are unable to make an investment of that type and have not considered the player as a priority.
"I repeat that we must first think about thinning [the squad] and then buying."
But negotiations with Roma and Aleksandar Kolarov are progressing and Ausilio seemed optimistic an agreement could be found for the 34-year-old wing-back.
"For Kolarov, on the other hand, there is a negotiation with Roma and with the player," he confirmed.
"We are carrying out the situation in a clear and transparent way. There are still several things to solve, but he is a player that we are interested in and that we can take under certain conditions."