Wesley Sneijder has alerted Manchester United and Manchester City to his potential availability in January after talks with Internazionale regarding his future on Monday failed to resolve the impasse which centres on the club wanting him to agree to reduced terms.
Although Sneijder has a deal with Inter that runs until 2015, his price tag would be significantly down on the €35m (£28.2m) United were quoted in the summer of 2011, with reports suggesting he could be sold for as little as €15m. That valuation could drop further if Sneijder is not moved on in the window and the dispute continues.
After leaving a meeting in Milan with his agent, Sneijder said: "I don't want to talk. Something will come out in the afternoon. I've always been well here."
Although it is understood that Sneijder's preferred choice if he is to leave Internazionale would be a move to Milan, due to his wife being settled in the city, this would not dissuade United or City if they decided to move for him.
Sneijder is 29 next June and so fits the profile of an established top-line player that moved Sir Alex Ferguson to sign Robin van Persie last August for £23m at the same age. United have tracked him since the summer of 2010, with the deal to secure his transfer 16 months ago reportedly breaking down due to his pay demands.
City's policy for the transfer window is that they will not buy unless an injury crisis or an unexpected sale forces their hand. But, as with United, the chance to acquire Sneijder, who is the Holland captain and won the Champions League with Internazionale in 2010, for a bargain price would provoke serious consideration.
Sneijder recently returned to fitness after a thigh injury that kept him out for two months but Internazionale revealed last month that he would not play unless he signs a new deal.
This would contain a year's extension but his salary would be reduced from around €6m to €4m a year.
"We need to modify his current contract," Marco Branca, the technical director, told Sky Italia. "He and his entourage have to decide what they want to do about our proposal. Sneijder will not play until he makes a decision about his contract."
Last week the global footballers' union Fifpro highlighted Sneijder's case and called for discussion regarding clubs using what it branded "blackmail behaviour" to force players into signing new contracts.