Manchester United's co-owners Avram and Joel Glazer reportedly blocked Marcos Rojo's proposed moved to Everton this summer as they see the Toffees as a direct rival for European places this season.
The Argentina international had been tipped to move to Goodison Park following a late offer from Everton, with Rojo believed to be surplus to requirements at United due to the arrival of Harry Maguire from Leicester City.
But Rojo's move eventually fell through, with The Times now claiming that a transfer was personally blocked by Manchester United's owners as they didn't want to strengthen a direct rival for European qualification.
It had appeared that one of Rojo, Chris Smalling or Phil Jones would be moved on by Manchester United as they looked to recoup funds ahead of the new season, having already spent £143m on three new faces.
But the Glazer's decision to halt a late move during the summer will force United to try and find a new suitor in January, with the club most likely to look for clubs across Europe rather than in the Premier League.
Everton's sporting director Marcel Brands had been was hopeful of reuniting Rojo with first-team manager Marco Silva following their brief stint together at Sporting CP.
The 29-year-old would've become Everton's eighth summer signing if he completed the move, but in the end, Monaco's Djibril Sidibé (loan) was the club's only defensive signing.