Middlesbrough have turned down a bid of £4.5million from Portsmouth for midfielder Gary O'Neil, the south coast club have announced.
The 25-year-old moved to the Riverside from Portsmouth in August 2007 after making almost 200 appearances for the Fratton Park club.
O'Neil, a former England Under-21 captain, has been linked with a return to the south coast and Pompey executive chairman Peter Storrie told the club's official website: ''We made what we thought to be a good offer for Gary but unfortunately it was declined and we will not be increasing our bid.
''Gary is a player that (manager) Tony (Adams) and the team know well having been here since he was a youngster. He would have been a good addition to the squad.''
The offer for O'Neil adds to an already difficult week for the Teeside club who have already fended off attention for England winger Stewart Downing, for whom Tottenham had two bids rejected.
• Middlesbrough goalkeeper Brad Jones has signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract.
The 26-year-old Australian has committed himself to the club until 2012 to end speculation over his future.
Jones, who joined Boro as a trainee, is currently understudy to Ross Turnbull, who had established himself as number one since Mark Schwarzer's departure for Fulham during the summer.
Turnbull is currently in talks over his own new deal with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, striker Jeremie Aliadiere could be out of action for up to eight weeks after a Harley Street specialist confirm he damaged ankle ligaments during Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup third-round win over non-league Barrow.
The injured ankle has been immobilised in a special boot, which the 25-year-old will wear for two weeks, and he will then start rehabilitation.